Vote looming on tax increase

(February 3, 2004) — (Little Rock-AP) -- A House vote on the largest tax increase in Arkansas history is scheduled for today, but the bill's sponsor says he may delay the measure if he senses there is not enough support. The bill would raise millions of dollars for education with a seven-eights of a cent sales tax increase. Legislators are divided over how to raise more than 410 million dollars a year in new revenue to fully fund a two-point-seven billion dollar school-funding formula, which passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Huckabee last month. But the future of the sales tax increase plan appears uncertain after its sponsor, Representative Boyd Hickinbotham, said he was continuing to count votes in the House to determine if the measure had enough support. As a sign of the opposition the bill could encounter, the House barely passed a procedural amendment needed to move the bill forward yesterday.