Arkansas voters will decide in November 2012 on two bond-related constitutional amendments the General Assembly placed on the ballot last week. Lawmakers can put three amendments to voters every two years, but opted only for the two bond proposals.

House Joint Resolution 1001 calls for a 10-year, 0.5% increase in the state sales tax rate to finance up to $1.8 billion of revenue bonds. If voters approve, proceeds would be used to build a network of four-lane roads to connect major cities in the state.

Senate Joint Resolution 5 would allow the creation of economic development districts by cities and counties. The districts could issue sales tax anticipation revenue bonds for infrastructure projects. The debt would be supported by increases in local sales tax revenue within district boundaries.

Voters will also be asked in 2012 to increase the state tax on diesel fuel to continue a highway grant anticipation revenue vehicle bond program. The tax increase, along with an existing tax of 4 cents per gallon, would support $1.1 billion of debt. Bond proceeds would finance maintenance efforts for interstate highways within Arkansas.

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