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Pine Bluff residents reject sales tax proposals in special election

By: - May 9, 2023 9:34 pm

Pine Bluff residents voted down two sales and use tax proposals totaling one cent during Tuesday’s special election. 

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

Go Forward Pine Bluff is a nonprofit that has been using a current five-eighth cent sales tax to fund efforts to support economic growth and quality of life improvements, such as removing condemned homes and constructing a new family fun park.

Representatives from the Pine Bluff branch of the NAACP said they opposed the proposed taxes because sales taxes are regressive and hurt low-income families. Additionally, they said there needed to be more transparency around how the sales tax money would be spent. 

According to unofficial results, 3,944 votes were cast in Tuesday’s election. The Go Forward Pine Bluff sales tax failed by 117 votes, while the public safety tax was defeated by 20 votes.

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Antoinette Grajeda
Antoinette Grajeda

Antoinette Grajeda is a multimedia journalist who has reported since 2007 on a wide range of topics, including politics, health, education, immigration and the arts for NPR affiliates, print publications and digital platforms. A University of Arkansas alumna, she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and a master’s degree in documentary film.