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Conway County to vote on sales tax for job creation

Posted: January 11, 2014 - 7:25pm

Thursday night, the Conway County Quorum Court unanimously passed an ordinance for a special election March 11 to levy a one-fourth cent sales tax for five years to attract jobs to Conway County.

According to Brandon Baker, President and CEO of the Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce and Conway County Economic Development Corporation, “the residents of Conway County have been very vocal on the need for new jobs in the area. We take the needs of our community seriously and are actively seeking funding that will allow Conway County to remain competitive in the job creation and retention market.”

If passed, the tax will be used to recruit new jobs to Conway County and assist existing business and industry with training and expansion needs. The tax is expected to generate an estimated $4.25 million over a five-year period and would expire unless reauthorized by voters.

“Every penny raised will be used to bring new jobs into the county.” Baker said.

The funds would be used as a recruitment tool to attract businesses to Conway County, train workforce for new and existing business, develop infrastructure such as water, sewer, gas, electric and rail and obtain options on property for new business development.

A five-person economic development board appointed by the Conway County Quorum Court would administer the funds. All meetings of the board will be open to the public and subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

“Conway County has river, rail and freeway instant access,” Baker said. “Communities all across the United States envy our location and transportation assets. This funding will allow Conway County to seek out major job creators and compete at a global level to offer more opportunities to the residents of Conway County.”

For more information about the job creation initiative you can contact Brandon Baker with the Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce at 501-354-2393 or email at chamber@morrilton.com.

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David 01/12/14 - 12:59 pm
I like Conway County

Increasing the sales tax in Conway County should be good for business in the surrounding counties. There will be an opportunity for job creation in Faulkner County. Hard to see how a higher sales tax that produces only $4M will turn all that worldwide envy of Conway County into high paying "global level" jobs. Maybe the Morrilton CofC could find 40 residents of Conway County with good entrepreneurial skills and give each $100K to start or improve a business. They could use a small portion of the tax income to fund a competition for good business ideas. However the idea is presented, using higher sales taxes as job stimulation is going to be a difficult sell. If jobs are a high priority for county residents and the CofC can show that increasing taxes will stimulate job growth, then I suspect the wise residents of Conway County would pay a voluntary tax to have more and better jobs. Then consumers in the county could continue buying locally rather than driving to Conway or elsewhere.

ARBEAR 01/12/14 - 05:15 pm
I believe this is going to be

I believe this is going to be a hard sell after so many taxpayers are upset over Conway wasting $130,000 of sales tax revenue on Tab's Christmas tower.

ucantbserious 01/13/14 - 10:25 am

Conway is not in Conway County.

conwayville 01/12/14 - 11:23 pm

Very interesting idea.

So if I'm a business looking to expand, and I'm looking at Conway area, I'm gonna ask some questions. First, why did Nucor leave? Why did International (AmTran) leave? Why is H-P laying off? Why is Acxiom sending jobs elsewhere? What happened to Levi's? Those are at least a couple of the many questions I'd be asking if I were considering moving operations into the area.

And after the city screwing away that much money on a defective Christmas tree, and now we know that the city is going to pay to have it transported to a repair facility, pay to have it fixed, then pay to have it delivered and erected again. As a citizen I'd be thinking that since my tax dollars have been totally wasted, I'm not sure I'd be up for checking the "for" box on a ballot for a new sales tax. The areas are going to have to prove to me that my tax dollars are being used for USEFUL things.

One of the things that I have learned in my short life is that if you use someone else's money improperly, you destroy your own credibility, and if you need to ask for a loan in the future, it's gonna be a LOT harder based on what I did in the past. So one of two things should happen. Either (1) don't let the word get out or (2) do the right thing in the first place.

Diogenes 01/13/14 - 11:10 am
Manufacturing plants left Central Arkansas

In order to take advantage of Clinton's having signed NAFTA into effect. It there by reduced or eliminated the tariffs that once protected American jobs. Conway's honorable Canadain company (GSW) closed it's doors and consolidated production back in Canada, thus providing Canadian jobs for Canadians. All the others moved to Mexico due to their friendlier environmental regulations, a prepaid legal system (bribery), but mostly for their extremely cheap labor. Companies can now pay a worker there for a day, less than what they were paying the same American worker to do here by the hour.
Companies who deal with information systems (HP, credit cards) don't have any real logistics cost, and can move their efforts half way around the world to be performed by even cheaper English speaking people no one can understand.

schultheis 01/13/14 - 11:41 am
International moved their bus

International moved their bus production to Tulsa. They actually still do some fabricating here. No union in Tulsa, and lots of tax breaks that the local Conway government, tech company friendly/heavy manufacturing hating geniuses, would not provide.

fdsjfsdjfsda543543543 01/13/14 - 06:58 pm
Conway hates manufacturing?

Conway hates manufacturing? Is that a selling point on Conway's chamber of commerce website? There was no union at the bus plant before it closed. Lies lies lies...

Elmer Fudd
Elmer Fudd 01/13/14 - 12:43 pm

did you get the info the city was going to be out all these additional charges for the tree? Thought Get Lit was responsible. I have seen nothing in the LCD about that.

alipage72 01/16/14 - 09:59 am
once again...

@Conwayville: Morrilton/Conway County and Conway/Faulkner County are two completely separate city/county governments. What Conway the city did and what Conway the county does will never intermix. It's nice that you have such a strong opinion on the matter, but unless you actually live in Conway County and NOT Conway the city, I sincerely do hope that you won't be "checking the "for" box", because that would be just silly and probably illegal.

odoketa 01/13/14 - 10:10 am
Conway County is not Conway

Unless I am confused, this news has no bearing on the city of Conway.

In fact, I'm sure Conway County is doing this because the growth Conway city has experienced does not appear to have been shared with all points west.

A million dollars a year could provide some excellent incentives to attract businesses. We'll see if that's what it does, or if they end up with their own (slightly taller) white elephant tree.

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