North Little Rock voters will decide the fate of a proposed sales tax increase Tuesday. If approved, the city’s portion of sales tax revenue would increase from one percent to two percent, adding another penny to every dollar of taxable items. Half the increase would be permanent, but the other half cent would last for only the next five years.
Kenny Wallis, a conservative activist and North Little Rock resident, has campaigned against tax increases in central Arkansas since 2011.
“The city of North Little Rock is budgeting way too much money on pet projects like the tugboat, the submarine, the trolley system, the bus system, and raises for themselves and yet they claim that they have no money for police and fire,” Wallis says.
North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith says he understands the reluctance to increase taxes, but argues, “Most of their money, most of that penny is going for police protection and fire protection and so they need to look at it that way. The trolley is an economic impact generator and I could debate that with a lot of people, but it’s such a small part. I think you just need to concentrate on public safety and creating jobs. That’s what we do with our money.”
In 2016 central Arkansas voters rejected a proposed quarter-cent transit tax. Early voting in this special election began on August 1 and polls in North Little Rock will be open Tuesday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.