Gov. Mike Beebe’s State of the State Address

Let the 87th Arkansas General Assembly officially begin! Gov. Mike Beebe gave eagerly awaited State of the State speech today (his second), proposing a 56-cent increase in the cigarette tax and a 1-cent cut in the state grocery tax.

First thing’s first: That cigarette tax doesn’t extend to cigar sales, according to David Sanders, Arkansas News Bureau columnist, global warming commission agitator and, turns out, cigar aficionado. But the good news for smokers likely ends there. This thing seems sure to pass.

The grocery tax? The future is hazy, judging by legislators’ reactions and the state’s budget, which seems sure to grow tighter and tighter as the months go by and the worldwide recession pierces Arkansas’ bubble of (relative) prosperity. Even still, Beebe seems sure we can knock a penny off that regressive tax, thereby saving Arkansas taxpayers (at least the nonsmoking ones) a little money, and keeping a promise he so famously made on the campaign trail.

Herewith, a round-up of today’s State of the State-related action:

Coverage from ArkansasBusiness.com, the AP and Capsearch.com

Video: Harrelson, Greenberg and Creekmore on the speech and the session

(Legislators On Demand – Arkansas Project)

A complete transcript of Beebe’s remarks

Legislators’ reactions from the AP

John Williams: Cautious but optimistic

Tolbert’s take on the speech

Steve Harrelson on the speech

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