Arkansas is poised to consider an innovative plan to create an “alternative fuels” tax on electricity and gas users in the state. Under the plan, which state Rep. Herschel Cleveland (D) said yesterday that he would introduce to the state assembly early next year, residents would be charged a 25-cent tax on each of their monthly electric and gas bills, while commercial and industrial users would be charged 25 cents for every $1,000 of electric or natural gas use per month. The tax would raise an estimated $2 million annually and would be used to create an alternative-fuels fund. Chris Benson, director of the Arkansas Energy Office, said nearly 80 percent of the state’s $4.2 billion energy diet now comes from fuel sources outside Arkansas. The renewable energy options financed by the fund could range from such standards as wind and solar power to fuels produced by recycling Arkansas’s untapped biomass resources, including chicken litter, soybean oil, sawdust, and rice hulls.
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