Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram rose this morning for a symbolic speech against Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s free-lunch highway plan.

To commit “surplus” to highway spending on on ongoing use is necessarily to redefine the money as general revenue, Ingram said. He also faulted commitment of earnings on state investments to regular highway spending, money normally committed to emergency needs.

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Generally speaking, he said the plans wasn’t a long-term solution to infrastructure needs.

Sen. Alan Clark, a Republican who supported discussion of a new tax for highways, noted, too, that the governor had once counseled against using one-time surplus for ongoing needs. “We can’t say one thing on one issue and another thing on another,” he said.

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The comments came on HB 1009, which passed 21-10. The Senate had already passed the Senate version of the governor’s bill and sent it to the House, where it will face no serious opposition.  The House convenes at 10 a.m. to finish the job.

CORRECTION: I wrote incorrectly that the Senate had passed its version of the governor’s bill.

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