Ark. highway funding bill fails before House panel

By ANDREW DeMILLOAssociated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A proposal to divert tax revenue from car sales in Arkansas to highways has failed before a House panel after state finance officials and education advocates warned that the move could threaten state services.

The bill by Republican Rep. Jonathan Barnett of Siloam Springs failed to advance past the House Public Transportation Committee. The panel voted 10-9 in favor of the bill, but it needed at least 11 votes to move to the House floor for a vote.

Barnett's proposal would have diverted revenues from the sale of new and used vehicles to state highways. The transfers would occur only if state sales tax collections exceeded $2.25 billion and would have phased in over time.

State officials estimated the move would cost the state $345 million by 2025.

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