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Fact Check: Arkansas Voters Did Not Approve of Gov. Huckabee's Gas Tax Hike

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American Government

Fact Check: Arkansas Voters Did Not Approve of Gov. Huckabee's Gas Tax Hike

Governor Mitt Romney
December 31, 2007


Despite His Claims, Arkansans Did Not Vote Themselves A Tax Hike

"Huckabee claimed a gasoline tax was only passed after 80 percent of voters approved it. Not true. The tax was enacted before a referendum vote on highway repairs." – Factcheck.org ("Huckabee's Fiscal Record," Factcheck.org, 11/21/07)

Gov. Huckabee Has Repeatedly Claimed That 80% Of Arkansas Voters Approved A Gas Tax:

On NBC's Meet The Press Yesterday, Gov. Huckabee Claimed That Arkansas Voters Supported A Tax For Highway Improvement. GOV. HUCKABEE: "He made claims about things like tax increases, but he failed to mention that some of those were either court-ordered or they were voted on by the people and approved by the people for things as roads." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 12/30/07)

- On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Gov. Huckabee Said That 80% Of Arkansas Taxpayers Voted For A Gas Tax Hike. FOX NEWS' SEAN HANNITY: "You did support some tax increases, but some tax cuts. Can you explain that?" HUCKABEE: "Yes, I did. Certainly, there was an issue that involved road building and infrastructure on roads and bridges, and I did support that. ... When we put that out there for the people to decide whether they wanted to affirm it, they did by an 80 percent vote, I would call that leadership." (Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes," 11/15/07)

- On ABC's This Week, Gov. Huckabee Also Claimed That Voters Approved The Gas Tax Hike. ABC'S GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: "But you did raise those other taxes." HUCKABEE: "Well, here's what we did. On the gas tax, yeah, you know what we did? We put it on the ballot and 80 percent of the people of Arkansas voted for those fuel taxes because they wanted better roads." (ABC's "This Week," 2/11/07)

Gov. Huckabee's Campaign Chair Repeated The Claim This Morning On C-SPAN. ED ROLLINS: "And he – now he's being attacked for things like fixing the roads. The voters of Arkansas had the worst roads in the country according to 'Trucking' magazine. Truckers didn't want to go into the state. He went to the voters and he said, we have got these terrible roads. I'm going to give you an opportunity to vote a three-cent-a-gallon tax to fix the roads..." (C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," 12/31/07)

In Fact, Gov. Huckabee's Own Gubernatorial Website Contradicts The Story He's Telling Now:

In 2005, Gov. Huckabee's Website Said That The People Did Not Vote For The 1999 Fuel Tax. " The people did not vote on any of the taxes dedicated to repay these bonds. Federal gas and diesel taxes are passed and implemented by Congress, and the state funds to repay these bonds are coming from the diesel tax increase passed and implemented by the state legislature in 1999." (Gov. Mike Huckabee, "Setting The Record Straight," Press Release, 11/30/05, http://web.archive.org/, Accessed 11/13/07)

Gov. Huckabee Has Been Misleading On The Issue:

Factcheck.org: "Not True." "Huckabee claimed a gasoline tax was only passed after 80 percent of voters approved it. Not true. The tax was enacted before a referendum vote on highway repairs." ("Huckabee's Fiscal Record," Factcheck.org, 11/21/07)

The Club For Growth Called Out Gov. Huckabee For His Misleading Statements On The Gas Tax. "While Huckabee repeatedly claims that 80% of Arkansas voters approved the gas and diesel fuel tax increases that he backed, the frequency of his repetition of this claim does not make it true. In fact, the claim is false. The Arkansas Legislature passed two bills in March of 1999 to pay for transportation projects, a gas and fuel tax hike, not subject to voter approval, and a bond issue that was contingent on voter approval. Huckabee signed the gas and diesel fuel tax increases into law on April 1, 1999; the tax hikes began taking effect that day." (Club For Growth, "Updated Huckabee White Paper," 11/13/07)

Gov. Huckabee Compromised With Democrats And De-Linked The Gas Tax From A Bond Issue:

Gov. Huckabee Agreed To A Diesel And Gasoline Tax Increase Even If His Bond Proposal Was Voted Down By The People. "But Huckabee on Thursday endorsed legislation that would impose a 3-cent tax increase on both diesel and gasoline - regardless of how the Governor's bond program fares." (David A. Lieb, "Dozen Republicans Split From Huckabee, Propose Alternative Highway Plan," The Associated Press, 2/26/99)

Gov. Huckabee's Compromise Plan Included "A Gasoline Tax Increase That Would Not Be Referred To Voters." "Gov. Mike Huckabee gave his blessing Thursday to an overhaul of his proposals for interstate repairs by including a gasoline tax increase that would not be referred to voters." (Noel E. Oman, "Huckabee Fits," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 2/26/99)

In April 1999, Gov. Huckabee Signed Legislation Increasing Gas Taxes WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL:

"The Fuel Taxes Were Signed Into Law By Huckabee And Do Not Have To Go A Statewide Vote." "The bond issue is part of a highway package backed by Gov. Mike Huckabee that also includes a 4-cent diesel tax, to be phased in over two years, tax and 3-cent gas tax, to be phased in over three years. The fuel taxes were signed into law by Huckabee and do not have to go a statewide vote." ("Capitol Briefs," The Associated Press, 4/6/99)

The Vote On The Bond Proposal Was Not Tied To The Diesel And Fuel Taxes. "Although a tax increase is in the bond plan, voter approval of the bonds did not raise or lower any tax. Huckabee and the Legislature had already done that during the 1999 legislative session. They raised the diesel fuel tax 4 cents per gallon, earmarking part of that revenue to finance the bonds." (Ray Pierce And Elizabeth Caldwell, "Road Bond Issue Scores Big Win With Arkansans," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 6/16/99)

Gov. Huckabee Signed Legislation Increasing Diesel And Fuel Taxes, While Separately Issuing $575 Million Worth Of Bonds Depending Upon Voters Approval. "Gov. Mike Huckabee signed into law Thursday legislation to raise fuel taxes by $60 million a year and issue bonds worth $575 million to pay for Arkansas' first major road program since 1991. Diesel taxes go up immediately and the gasoline tax increase takes effect July 1, two weeks after voters decide whether to approve the bond issue intended to speed up repairs on the poorest stretches of interstates across the state." (James Jefferson, "Governor Signs Bills Raising Taxes, Bonds For Highway Program," The Associated Press, 4/1/99)

- The People Would Have The Chance To Vote On JUST The Bond Proposal In June Of 1999. "Huckabee also set a June 15 special election for voters to decide whether to approve the bond issue, which is intended to speed up repairs on the poorest stretches of interstates across the state." (James Jefferson, "Governor Signs Bills Raising Taxes, Bonds For Highway Program," The Associated Press, 4/2/99)

In June 1999, Arkansans Voted 80% For The Highway Bond Proposal, NOT A Gas Tax:

The Vote On The Bond Proposal Would Not Impact The Tax Increases. " Voting on the bond issue would not change state tax rates. The legislature raised fuel taxes this year - 4 cents a gallon on diesel over two years, 3 cents a gallon on gasoline over three years - to hasten repairs on secondary highways and local roads." (James Jefferson, "Voters Back Huckabee's Road Plan," The Commercial Appeal, 6/16/99)

The Bond Proposal (WITH NO GAS TAX) Was Passed 80% To 20%. "Gov. Mike Huckabee's $575 million bond program to reconstruct the worst stretches of Arkansas interstates over a five-year period appeared headed for an easy victory, 80 percent to 20 percent, becoming the first road bond issue approved since 1949." (James Jefferson, "Voters Back Huckabee's Road Plan," The Commercial Appeal, 6/16/99)



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