Region & State

Pine Bluff voters consider whether to ‘go forward’ with sales tax

By ANTOINETTE GRAJEDA | Arkansas Advocate

 Voters are being asked to consider extending a sales tax to support Go Forward Pine Bluff, an initiative to remove blight and renovate buildings like these in the downtown area. | Photo courtesy of Go Forward Pine Bluff

The debate about how to support economic growth and quality of life improvements in Pine Bluff will be put to a vote during a special election May 9 as residents consider two sales and use tax proposals totaling one cent. 

One proposal would create a permanent three-eighth cent sales tax to benefit the city’s fire and police departments. The other would extend a five-eighth cent sales tax that funds Go Forward Pine Bluff’s initiatives for another seven years. 

Pine Bluff-based Simmons Bank helped launch the Go Forward Pine Bluff initiative in late 2015, and volunteers spent the following year developing a strategic plan to grow the community’s tax base. 

In 2017, Go Forward Pine Bluff became a nonprofit, and voters approved a seven-year five-eighth cent sales tax. The group formed a public-private partnership with the city to ensure the funding was used to implement the strategic plan’s more than two dozen initiatives.

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