Gov. Asa Hutchinson will begin today the campaign for a permanent general sales tax devoted to highways and local roads.

Voters next year will be asked to approve Issue 1, a constitutional amendment referred by the legislature that would make permanent a half-cent sales tax that otherwise would expire in 2023. It raises almost $300 million annually. Of the money, 70 percent goes to the state and 15 percent each to cities and counties.

The promotional logo for the measure doesn’t mention a tax of course. “Vote for roads,” it says. It also says the measure doesn’t raise taxes. That’s true for now. But it would institute a tax increase come 2023.

The governor will begin the campaign with a news conference this morning at the Poultry Federation. It occurs just as his state Board of Education convenes to continue punishing the Little Rock School District and its union teachers.

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