THE ENCLAVE: Should its property taxes go to NLR schools or to build a hotel parking deck five blocks away?

Good for the Democrat-Gazette for reporting further on North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays‘ unprecedented plan to round up revenue streams from three disconnected Tax Increment Finance districts to build a parking deck for a hotel in one of the three.

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Bad for the reporter for quoting City Attorney Jason Carter as saying he’s unaware of any problem with the plan. He’s aware of one, because he and I have discussed it. He acknowledges my argument, though he isn’t ready to concede it.

It couldn’t be simpler. Amendment 78 to the Arkansas Constitution, which allows cities to set up redevelopment districts such as this, says, with my emphasis supplied:

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(a) Any city or county may form a redevelopment district for the purpose of financing one (1) or more redevelopment projects within the district.

(b) A city or county which has formed a redevelopment district may issue bonds for the purpose of financing capital improvements for redevelopment projects within the district.

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If the mayor only combines the taxing power of the three existing districts, he will be drawing tax money from two of them for a project OUTSIDE those districts.