Jonesboro voters yesterday defeated a one-cent city sales tax, 51-49 percent.
The actual vote was 4,805 for to 5,016 against. It was a typical Christmas tree proposal — touted as paying for public safety and amenities (bike paths, sidewalks, an aquatic center.)
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Every sales tax proposal stands on its own, of course. But trends are interesting as Little Rock draws near to an inevitable sales tax election to shore up stretched city revenue. Mayor Frank Scott Jr. promised 100 more cops and so far hasn’t added any. He’s only stretched cops further by tapping four of them to provide a mayoral SUV service.
Also, a 3/8-cent tax for capital improvements pased in 2011 expires after 10 years. The city will be back for more. Repurposing those golf courses, remember?
Key question: Will the coming capital tax request include another $20 million handout to help the city build a new building for the Tech Park in a downtown glutted with vacant office space? The vacant space is growing thanks to the state of Arkansas’s foray into commercial real estate through the purchase of the Verizon building for a Raytheon facility that didn’t materialize. The state now will shuffle state agencies there, vacating other buildings in the central city.
BUT: Hot Springs voters yesterday approved a bond issue to build a baseball complex. And Arkadelphia voters backed a temporary sales tax for a variety of government needs.