Here’s the open line, plus mention of a couple of announcements at the Capitol tomorrow sure to involve taxes. In chronological order:
* DEMOCRATS: The Arkansas Democratic Party will announce an alternative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s income tax cut for the rich at 10:15 a.m. It is described as a “strong tax relief plan for working families.” I’d guess it will include an earned income tax credit, which returns a portion of payroll taxes to people who work for a living but don’t make very much. They got a pittance in earlier income tax cuts and get nothing in the new plan favored by the governor. Democrats are a tiny minority in the Arkansas legislature, so ……
* THE GOVERNOR: Gov. Asa Hutchinson will announce a “long-term highway plan” at 11 a.m. at the governor’s conference room. Guessing: It will include making the half-cent sales tax supporting highway bonds a permanent source of general revenue for highways. The question is what other tax money is in the cards for road-building. Will he steal more general revenues for highways, by diverting sales tax revenue on vehicles? Will he propose asking voters for a bond issue and a new dedicated funding stream? I’d put odds long on a gallonage fuel tax increase. But the idea of assessing the state sales tax at the wholesale level remains a good one. No tax increase will be proposed that doesn’t go to voters first, I”d guess.
I presume “long-term” planning doesn’t mean calling for the long-absent review of whether we are smart about highways. That is, are we building and maintaining too many miles as a state? Are we smart in believing there’s no two-lane road that would not be better as four-lane? Might we reconsider whether ever wider urban freeways do anything about congestion?