February 07, 2007 Edition

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Rep. Rogers says Hwy.
67 expansion is priority

John Bland
TD Publisher

State Representative J.R. Rogers of Walnut Ridge called together a meeting Monday morning with area leaders to discuss priorities and projects of concern. In January, Rogers began his second two-year term as state representative for District 73, which includes all of Lawrence County and parts of Independence and Greene counties.

The 20 people meeting with Rogers, consisted of several Lawrence County mayors, County Judge Alex Latham, industry managers and Chamber of Commerce leaders.

Rep. Rogers told the group that the expansion of U.S. Hwy 67 from two to four lanes, from Newport through Lawrence County and to the Missouri state line, is one of his top priorities. "Hwy. 67 (four-lanes) should be moved on up this way as soon as possible," said Rogers. He also told the group that he does not support Gov. Mike Beebe's proposal to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries.

Rep. Rogers said he feels that the elimination of the sales tax on groceries would not be very beneficial to those who need the tax relief. Rogers said the eliminated tax would amount to three cents per dollar, and a family who spends $100 a week for groceries would only save $150 a year.

Instead, Rogers said he has signed on to a bill that would provide a $75 a person tax break. Hoxie Mayor Donnie Roberts, who has been in the grocery business most of his adult life, said he agreed with Rep. Rogers.

Rogers, along with Chamber leaders, agreed that coalitions are needed to promote projects, such as the effort to expand Hwy. 67. Besides banding together in the county, it was agreed that Lawrence County must join with other counties to be successful in coalition projects.

"We need to join together and start working with surrounding communities. We're all going to have to start working together," Rogers said.

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