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State sales tax went up from 6 to 6.5 percent July 1

The first lawsuit to challenge Arkansas; ban on same sex marriage was filed last week in Pulaski on behalf of couples in 5 counties.

Arkansas is beginning to get the work force of 537 people to provide one on one customer service for residents who will enroll for insurance under the federal health care law. Although people will be able to choose health plans on their own through a website, the Arkansas insurance department is contracting with about 25 government agencies, nonprofit groups and businesses to train and hire “in person assisters” at “Health Connector” locations across the state.

The state sales tax went up from 6 to 6.5 percent on July 1 and revenue from the increase will pay for a major highway improvement program. Voters approved the half-cent sales tax increase last November when they voted for the issue. The increase will expire in 10 years. Revenues from this half-cent will finance $1.3 billion bond issue, which will be combined with existing revenue to pay for $1.8 billion in improvement and construction of the four land highways that will connect all areas of the state. The sales tax will not be on groceries, medicine or gasoline. The highway officials have estimated that from $670 million to $700 million in additional turn back revenue will be sent to cities and counties as a result of this issue.

I hope each of you had a wonderful fourth. If you would like to contact me, please email me at bruce.holland@cox.net, or call my office at 650-1884 or write me at P.O. Box 2387.

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