Alderman proposes 1/4% sales tax if other sales tax proposal fails

Updated: Aug. 27, 2019 at 12:21 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Alderman Bobby Long released a statement Tuesday, outlining his plans to help fund fire and police salaries if the ‘Team Jonesboro’ initiative fails.

In the release, Long would propose an ordinance for a ¼% tax increase that would only address the needs of the fire and police, nothing else.

This ordinance takes aim at the ‘Team Jonesboro’ 1% sales tax increase that would fund both public safety initiatives and fund amenities.

Long's ordinance would take the current sales tax from 8.5% to 8.75% and bring in an extra $4.5 million to be used for additional fire stations, equipment, and staff needed for police and fire.

“The city is asking for the people to tighten their belts and come up with additional money,” Long said. "It’s only fair that the city do the same. The city needs to be in partnership with the people; not at odds with the people.”

Long is also proposing to make this pitch as an ordinance, and not a special election.

Long says his tax would continue if the city continued to fund the police and fire at the prevailing budgetary levels.

“Now, here we are needing to raise more money for public safety less than 5 years after the expiration of the public safety tax. I think it’s evident that sunset taxes do not work in these instances” Long says.

Long's ordinance would have a trigger that will end the tax if a budget is adopted by the city that reduces the prevailing budget for fire and police.

“I don’t know if anything like this has been proposed before, but it makes sense to me and I’m going to try to keep that component in there because it gives the police and fire more budgetary protection than they’ve ever had,” says Long.

On Monday, Region 8 News highlighted a group of citizens who formed a coalition against the ‘Team Jonesboro,’ initiative.

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