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Eating, sleeping could cost more

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:26 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Extra dollar signs may be added to food and hotel bills in Jonesboro.

Mulitple tax increases are up back up for discussion.

“Wait a minute, let’s slow down on something like this,” said Iris Stevens, coordinator of the Northeast Arkansas Tea Party.

That was her response when I asked her thoughts on the topic.

A 2 percent prepared food tax and a 1 percent hotel tax are headed to the Jonesboro City Council’s Finance Committee.

“I think this is probably one of the worst possible times to talk about raising taxes,” Stevens said.

She believes businesses and residents are still regrouping from pandemic-related financial strains. A tax, she says, would only make things worse.

“You know the prices have gone up double digits just in the supplies for restaurants and things. They are having to incorporate in the prices that they charge people,” Stevens said. “So, that puts them in stress. Then we want to raise a two percent tax for prepared foods?”

The Advertising and Promotions Commission requested the increase to fund the development of a sports complex.

Stevens said the hotel tax would not affect residents much, but the prepared food tax would.

“That may not have an effect on a lot of high-income people,” she said. “But when you are talking about people low- and moderate-income, when they go out to eat that could be a significant increase.”

In May, the A&P Commission proposed the so-called “hamburger tax” to better serve the community.

Stevens questions the reason behind the tax hike.

“This has shifted, it tells me that they may be more interested in the money, maybe, than the specific project,” she said.

Now that the tax talk is back she is working to inform Jonesboro residents.

“We are trying to alert the people in Jonesboro, saying this could be coming down the road and you better take a look at all the facts and figures surrounding it,” Stevens said.

The ordinance request still has to go through the finance committee and be voted on by the city council.

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