One Percent for $17 Million?

November 22, 2005--Posted at 9:45 PM CST

JONESBORO--John Q. Hammons announced in July that he wants to build a 9 story high-rise hotel in Jonesboro. On one condition; the city must find a way to build a 65,000 square foot convention center next door.

Mayor Doug Formon assembled a commitee last month to find the best solution to pay for the center. Their conclusion is have the citizens of Jonesboro vote in a special election to add a one cent sales tax city wide until enough funds are raised; $17 million dollars worth of funds.

How will a one cent sales tax affect your budget? Say you spend $200 a month at your local grocery, that means an extra $2 will go towards construction of the convention center. That is a price most consumers are willing to pay beacuse, they say the long term benefits out weigh the short term tax.

Delores Holifield said, "I think that it would be a good idea for an increase in taxes as long as it is for the center and bringing new jobs into our community."

"It is fine. If it is going to bring more jobs into the area, it's fine. It's great," said Linda Price.

The main concern for supporters though is that the tax completes its purpose then goes away.

Jerry Williams said, "I have no problem with a sales tax as long as it is not an open ended sales tax. I don't want one that is propetual forever."

"Well i am not for additional taxes, but if there is an end to and it is a short term which they have stated that, if it brings business, more people, more opportunity to the own of Jonesboro, then I think it will be a good idea," said Kevin Humphrey.

Mayor Formon said this afternoon the tax, if approved will be a short lived tax. Hammonds will lease the convention center from the city for $4.5 over 25 years. That revenue will be used for exterior maintanence for the life of the building. The city council will vote for a special election on Decemeber 20th.