Fact Check: Most “Progressive Cities” Do Not Have an “Economic Development Tax”

I posted a story yesterday about Jim House’s radio interview last week where he made a series of outlandish comments, including a claim that we need a permanent economic development tax because

White County has never had a tax for economic development.  Most progressive cities have had one that goes fully to economic development.

Coincidentally, this week’s edition of Arkansas Business  arrived in the mail yesterday and focuses heavily on the tax proposal in Little Rock that is also set for a vote on September 13th.  Among other interesting tidbits, the article lists the cities & counties in Arkansas that have an economic development tax:

Cities:

  • Foreman
  • Murfreesboro
  • Warren
  • Magnolia
  • El Dorado
  • Crossett
  • Monticello
  • Harrisburg
  • Booneville
  • Russellville
  • Clarksville
  • Wynne
  • Newport
  • Marked Tree
  • West Memphis
  • England

Counties:

  • Clark
  • Jefferson
  • Mississippi

Now I am not sure what Mr. House’s definitions of “most” or “progressive cities” are, but I do not see any communities on this list that I consider to be “progressive.”  Also, I do not think that the people of White County are foolish enough to believe that any of these listed cities or counties are models of economic success that we should emulate.  No offense intended towards these communities, but White County & Searcy surpass most of them in terms of high-quality jobs—and we are doing it without an economic development tax.

Just last week, the local paper reported several new jobs that are coming to our county.  Here are some of the headlines:

  • “[Dollar General] Looks to Open in McRae”
  • “Mayor: ‘Walmart Eyeing Beebe’ ”
  • “Harps to Open in Bald Knob”

These are jobs.  This is increased revenue as stores pop up along the edge of the county and bring in new taxpayers from surrounding counties.  And this is all happening without an economic development tax.

The AR Business article includes several other interesting parallels between the debates in White County & Little Rock, including comments from Little Rock’s Chamber director that confirm that the “build-it-and-they-will-come” mentality is alive and well across the state, not just in White County.

It’s almost as if these politicians are getting their talking points from somewhere

I encourage you to read the full article for yourself.

Stay informed.

Nicholas Horton, Chairman, Citizens for Responsible Taxation

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Early Voting Underway in White County «

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