It was a good week for …
SPEEDY LEGISLATING. In only three days, the minimum allowed by the state Constitution, the General Assembly approved Gov. Mike Beebe’s proposed increase in the state severance tax on natural gas. And then went home.
GLOATING. Sheffield Nelson, a strong supporter of the tax increase, said that an anti-tax newspaper column written by tax opponent Asa Hutchinson actually helped the effort to raise the tax. Hutchinson’s column allowed Nelson to write a response that showed why the tax was needed, Nelson said.
FELONS IN THE COURTHOUSE. It was revealed that Dan Harmon, a former Saline County prosecutor who went to prison for taking drugs and money from criminals in exchange for dropped charges, is now working for the Saline circuit clerk.
GROWTH IN SHERWOOD. Voters in Gravel Ridge chose annexation by Sherwood over annexation by Jacksonville. The vote was 632 to 221.
GROWTH IN COMMITTEES. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola appointed a new 15-member tourism committee. Some city directors wondered if the new group would compete with, or duplicate the efforts of, the city Advertising and Promotion Commission.
TAXATION. North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Hays proposed an increase in the city sales tax to raise the pay of police and firefighters and lower city electric rates.
It was a bad week for …
WORKPLACE FATALITIES. Three workers installing a pipeline on the Interstate 430 bridge fell to their deaths in the Arkansas River, 50 feet below.
NATURAL DISASTERS. While much of the state was still struggling to recover from flooding, two tornadoes struck Central Arkansas in one night, causing heavy damage. Some Pulaski County schools were closed for days.
THE STATE MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. COMMISSION. The State Police began investigating the possible theft of property from the commission’s office. The commission has long been troubled by conflict among members.