Gov. Asa Hutchinson
held a news conference today to sign his highway tax legislation, which will raise $300 million in tax revenue altogether if voters approved a referred half-cent sales tax permanently devoted to highway spending. It also includes a new fuel tax and diversion of casino taxes, previously devoted to general revenue, to highways.

The governor said the ideas seemed popular and votes had assurances on how the money would be spent.

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In response to some other questions, Hutchinson was non-committal on pending proposals to roll back minimum wage increases overwhelmingly approved by voters last year. He said the measures needed further review. He specifically mentioned a “waiver” to allow employers to pay sub-minimum wages to people younger than 21 who were students.  But he said there should be a “heavy burden” to alter an overwhelmingly approved ballot initiative.

He also said in response to a question about “stand your ground” gun legislation that he believed existing self-defense law was “strong.” He said he was “hesitant” to change from what we have now “which works very well.”

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