Jonesboro voters reject safety and quality of life sales tax hike

by George Jared (gjared@talkbusiness.net) 426 views 

The city of Jonesboro will have to find another way to fund safety and quality of life improvements. City voters rejected a 1-cent sales tax increase during a special election Tuesday (Sept. 10). At least 5,016 voted against the measure while 4,805 voted to support it. The results are unofficial.

Team Jonesboro, a grassroots organization promoted the proposed sales tax hike that was estimated to generate about $200 million and would have had a sunset clause in 12 years.

Part of the sales tax would have been used to fund investments in public safety and to construct public amenities such as parks, aquatics centers, a shooting sports complex, arts and entertainment venues, museums, sidewalks, trail systems and a wide variety of other quality of life based projects. The goal was to improve the safety and lives of people that live in the city, and to provide tools to recruit new young professionals to the city, the group said.

The organization was not pleased with the result, but seemed to indicate it wasn’t going to stop, according to social media posts.

“We are disappointed at the outcome, being 4,805 for and 5,016 against. However, this journey is not over. The passion for a better Jonesboro is clear and we will continue to raise our voices for a safer and stronger community for all citizens. Remember this is not a moment, this is a movement,” the group noted in a social media statement.

Citizens Taxed Enough formed to oppose the tax hike. According to Talk Business & Politics content partner KAIT, the group said it supported a sales tax increase to benefit the police and fire departments but didn’t support additional tax money to go toward amenities.

“Well, it’s very surprising because they had us outspent a whole bunch,” Iris Stephens, a member of Citizens Taxed Enough said. “I have to admit, I’m very surprised. I think it shows in Jonesboro how strongly we support our police and fire and how we definitely want to make sure that when we raise our taxes, it goes to our necessities for our police and fire department.”

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