Arkansas Governor Hutchinson Needs $339M To Fix Its Roads
As truckers who drive through or to Arkansas know, the road infrastructure in Arkansas can be a real pain. It is badly in need of repairs and Governor Hutchinson has called to appropriate $339 million just to fix the roads. The most surprising thing about his announcement is that he is not increasing any taxes to raise the revenue, even though that is what a task force started by him suggested. The plan will not face a lot of competition due to being neutral on tax hikes but there are still some wrinkles that need to be ironed out.
The biggest issue with fixing the roads is that the question of how the funds will be raised ends up stopping the plans in their track. This is an issue in Rhode Island right now, where the truckers are protesting outside the State House because the state plans to increase tolls for trucks to raise funds. Truckers think the state is being unfair, while the state says that since trucks cause the most damage to the roads, it is fair that they pay more.
The issue has become a political one and the local trucking association has even claimed that they may sue the state. Even if the local populace is not a problem, raising taxes is a very hard thing to do, as the opposition party claims that the taxes are unfair and should be used for something else.
Governor Hutchinson knew that the roads of Arkansas needed to be fixed, but he also knew that raising the taxes to generate funds would not be a good move. He set up a task force which would look at ways of generating revenue. Increasing different taxes was the solution the task force came up with, and the task force presented several different ways taxes could be raised. However, the plans announced by Governor Hutchinson do not use any of the recommendations by the task force. Instead of increasing taxes, the plan relies on allocating surplus funds for fixing the roads.
For the previous few years, Arkansas has had surplus funds which have been used in different ways. Governor Hutchinson wants to make sure that all such surplus funds for the next 5 years are allocated to fixing the road infrastructure of the state.
While the idea is innovative, there are still some people who disagree with it. Democrats have traditionally been against surplus fund allocations because it is not guaranteed that there will be surplus funds every year, which can cause a lot of uncertainty. The House Minority Speaker Michael John Gray said, “If we have any hiccup in our state budget, that surplus may not be as large as it has been in the past, to count on that to always be there to fund is something that gives me a little concern.” – See more at: http://truckernews.com/arkansas-governor-hutchinson-needs-m-to-fix-its-roads-p661-90.htm#sthash.rOy8S1m2.dpuf