Tax benefits PB
Editor, The Commercial:
The 5/8¢ tax opposition continues to bang its drums about procedures and people, not the issues on the ballot.
Things to consider when weighing if you are for or against the renewal of the existing 5/8¢ tax, and establishment of the 3/8¢ tax to support our police and fire first responders, are:
Defeat of the 3/8¢ first responder tax sends the wrong message to those who risk their lives to protect us and will make our police and fire departments happy hunting grounds for first responder recruiters. A vote against the 3/8¢ tax is a vote against our first responders.
The King Cotton Classic, touted by many as one of the best holiday prep tournaments, and a point of pride for our community, will die without support from the 5/8¢ tax. Game over. A vote against the 5/8¢ tax renewal is a vote against King Cotton.
The Teach Pine Bluff Program provides professional assistance for Pine Bluff teachers seeking to achieve certification, which benefits our entire community. Should the 5/8¢ tax fail, it's adios Teach Pine Bluff. A vote against the 5/8¢ tax renewal is a vote against Teach Pine Bluff (and by extension, Pine Bluff schools and school children).
If the 5/8¢ tax renewal fails, mortgage down payment assistance provided by the 5/8¢ tax for prospective new low and moderate-income ALICE Housing Program homeowners is history. A vote against the 5/8¢ tax renewal is a vote against mortgage down payment assistance for low and moderate-income families.
The Pine Bluff municipal grant writer has brought in $6.3 million, with more pending. The grant writer's salary is provided by the 5/8¢ tax. A vote against the 5/8¢ tax is a vote against the Pine Bluff grant writer.
Blight removal in Pine Bluff will grind to a tragic halt if the 5/8¢ tax fails. More than 200 dilapidated, rat-infested, drug-friendly structures have been demolished, all funded by the 5/8¢ tax. A vote against the 5/8¢ tax renewal is a vote against blight removal. (Rats, druggies, and certain tax opponents will rejoice.)
Funding for new projects such as the new Go Kart, mini-golf, paintball, and restaurant complex; the 6th and Main Restaurant and Retail Plaza, and the new Flats on 6th multi-family apartments will simply not be available.
Failure of these taxes does not bode well for our community. There's a lot to lose and absolutely, positively, nothing to gain.