It's official: sales tax going up

(February 13, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- State sales taxes are definitely going up. Legislation raising taxes to pay for court-ordered education reforms became state law yesterday without Governor Huckabee's signature. He signed a bill that establishes public schools as the state's top budget priority. The tax bill raises the state sales tax seven-eighths of a cent, making the sales tax six percent. It also expands the sales tax to some business services that were not previously taxed. The increase goes into effect March first. The second bill establishes the Education Adequacy Fund, into which about 370 million dollars in new taxes will flow to supplement the state's Public School Fund. It also makes public schools the budget priority, a requirement ordered by the state Supreme Court in declaring the state's school funding formula unconstitutionally inequitable and inadequate in November 2002.