Bid fails to add nickel tax to non-cash fuel sales in Arkansas

| 5/13/2005

An effort in the Arkansas Legislature has died that sought to generate revenue for highway improvements by forcing truckers and other drivers in the state to pay another nickel each time they use plastic to pay for fuel.

The bill remained in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee at the end of the session, effectively killing it for the year.

Sponsored by Rep. Phillip Jackson, R-Berryville, the bill was intended as an alternative source of revenue for a $1 billion highway bond program pushed by Gov. Mike Huckabee – or go into the state’s treasury if it couldn’t be tied to road improvements.

Under the bill, fuel retailers would have been required to charge an extra 5 cents for each purchase made by use of a credit or debit card, gift card or any other method of electronic payment. It would not have been a per-gallon tax, but a per purchase tax.

Huckabee spokesman Rex Nelson said earlier in the session that the governor was open to suggestions on financing highways, including Jackson’s bill – HB2838.

Nelson told The Associated Press that while it wasn’t the governor’s bill, Huckabee “consistently has said he will be open to any means of paying for highway construction. We would certainly consider this a viable option,” Nelson said.

Jackson said he had difficulty coming up with research to determine how much the measure would have generated.