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(Little Rock) (AP) – Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross is calling for the gradual reduction of the tax that Arkansas manufacturers pay for repairing or partly replacing machinery.

The former congressman on Thursday proposed phasing out nearly all of the tax manufacturers pay for those parts, saying the law unfairly punishes manufacturers already in the state. Ross estimates that eliminating the tax would eventually cost the state $40 million a year.

Ross’ proposal wouldn’t affect the parts of the tax that are constitutionally required under measures voters have approved to support highways and state conservation efforts.

Ross is the only announced Democratic candidate for the state’s top office. Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson, Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman and state Rep. Debra Hobbs are seeking the Republican nomination.

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