Little Rock Voters Reject Proposed Gross sales Tax Enhance


Little Rock voters rejected Mayor Frank Scott Jr.’s proposed one-cent gross sales tax enhance by a virtually two-to-one margin yesterday.

Unofficial vote totals present simply over 13,000 votes have been forged in opposition to the tax enhance. Slightly below 8,000 folks voted in favor of it. Of the over 120,000 registered voters within the metropolis, solely round 21,000 ballots have been forged within the election.

“Whereas this election didn’t end up as we’d hoped,” Scott mentioned in a press release, “I’m grateful for the members of the Metropolis Board who positioned this proposal earlier than the voters and the folks of Little Rock who campaigned with me for a stronger, extra vibrant metropolis.”

The tax proposal, branded by Scott as “Rebuild the Rock,” was meant to make use of income for the tax to enhance recreation areas across the metropolis, enhance early childhood training, and different quality-of-life enhancements.

Scott mentioned “We at all times knew this is able to be a troublesome journey—the pandemic has triggered a substantial amount of uncertainty.
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In a press release, members of the Vote No Gross sales Tax September 14 poll committee say they’re “elated” to see the tax didn’t go.

“This was a nasty plan and the folks might see it, it’s so simple as that,” mentioned committee co-chair Greg Moore. “Despite the fact that it had many high-profile supporters and bought itself as if it might assist low-income households.”

“Many households in Little Rock are hurting from this pandemic,” added committee co-chair Valencia White, “They didn’t want the price of their groceries elevated.”

Each committee co-chairs are members of Arkansas Neighborhood Organizations, a gaggle that allows working and low-income households to battle for social and financial justice. Members have identified that there are issues inside the metropolis’s energy now to enhance residents’ lives.

Moore mentioned “They need to work laborious to succeed in out to communities to be able to discover out what folks actually need and convey folks into their future plans.” He additionally mentioned that the town ought to work on getting everybody vaccinated and utilizing the federal pandemic funds to rebuild the neighborhood.

Whereas the mayor urged residents to approve the tax enhance, voters on Election Day criticized explicit elements of the proposal. Nick D’Auteuil held an indication in entrance of a polling place at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church on Tuesday urging passersby to vote in opposition to it.

He mentioned he doesn’t see the good thing about new taxes funding enhancements to the Little Rock Zoo.

“I simply suppose zoos are sort of archaic, they’re outdated. We all know that animals dwell longer lives within the wild,” D’Auteuil mentioned. “I don’t suppose {that a} million giraffe exhibit goes to do very a lot for the town.
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A typical criticism of the tax proposal highlighted the truth that Little Rock would have had an total gross sales tax price of 9.625% by subsequent 12 months. However voter Marilyn Micheletti mentioned the upper value to taxpayers would have been price it to assist fund enhancements to the town’s parks and recreation.

“It’s not that a lot. For those who go to Maumelle, it’s already 9.5%. It’s not that completely different from different cities… and we use all of those services, we go there, why not contribute to them?”

Little Rock’s total gross sales tax is about to drop to eight.625% subsequent 12 months as a three-eights p.c gross sales tax initially accredited in 2011 is about to run out.

Scott mentioned he would work with the town Board of Administrators “to make the required changes” for the expiring tax and that he would “hold combating to Rebuild the Rock.”

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