by Max Brantley
Gov. Mike Beebe said yesterday that he might mount his own gas tax initiative drive if the legisalture won't raise the severance tax because he doesn't like Sheffield Nelson's idea of an intiative to split the money between roads and highways.
I think Nelson is open to negotiation (and he tells the D-G he's fine with Beebe going ahead with his own plan). But I suspect the behind-the-scenes activity is this: The legislature won't pass a tax increase as long as Death Star Bob Johnson, the Stephens family's legislative house boy, and his pork-addicted acolytes sit in the Senate. The gas industry -- recognizing a growing imperative to assess a reasonable tax rate on the plundering of Arkansas treasure -- might even throw its money behind a Beebe-led initiative campaign with a much lower tax rate.
Can Mike Beebe work with the gas industry? You know he can.