Half-Cent Tax Could Mean More Growth

April 23, 2003
Posted at: 8:26 p.m. CDT

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. -- Mississippi County campaigns are underway to help Blytheville and surrounding areas attract more industry.

Community leaders say a half-cent sales tax increase would wake up a sleeping town in Region 8. They claim the new tax will help them have better recruiting potential for big business.

Dina Lofton and her husband have a new gift shop in downtown Blytheville. They hope voters will decide next week to give a gift that could help the area get more growth.

"Jobs to help people get off the welfare system," Lofton said. "I think that would be very helpful."

On April 29, the community will have the chance to vote no or yes on the half-cent tax. According to local officials, the money will be controlled by the county's quorum court.

Cecil Hollifield is president of the Blytheville Chamber of Commerce. He says that the area's assets are why Blytheville is primed for growth.

"We've got the interstate highway, the railway, and the river," Hollifield said. "We're hoping to be a real growth factor."

State Senator Steve Bryles agrees with Hollifield. He hopes to see the half-cent sales tax pass and eventually raise millions for local incentives.

"It's hard for a public official to support a tax," Bryles said. "But we've already seen that train pass us by, and we need to be able to land more jobs."