DALLAS – Revenue growth from a Little Rock, Ark. sales tax increase adopted in 2011 isn’t hitting the 2% a year target set by city officials.
Collections in the first quarter of 2013 are up 0.22% from the same period of 2012, Finance director Sara Lenehan said Wednesday. City officials predicted annual increases of 2% over 10 years when the tax increase was proposed.
Voters approved the increase in the sales tax to 1.5% from 0.5% in September 2011. It took effect Jan. 1, 2012. The levy is in addition to Arkansas’ 6% state sales tax and Pulaski County’s 1% tax.
Collections in the first three months of 2013 totaled $11.25 million, an increase of $24,835 from the same period of 2012, she told the Little Rock Citizen Evaluation of the New Tax Committee.
“Year to year, it’s about a $25,000 growth, which is not hitting that 2% growth rate we had predicted and hoped for,” Lenehan said. “The numbers are still up and down from month to month.”
The 1% increase in the rate includes a 0.375% portion dedicated to capital improvement projects, which will sunset at the end of 2021, and a permanent 0.625% tax for operations.
The permanent portion brought in almost $29 million in 2012, with the capital portion generating $17.4 million.
City officials told the panel that revenue from the sales tax funded the training of more than 50 police officers with a new training class set to begin next month.
Several potential sites have been identified for a new police station funded with the capital improvement portion of the tax, and negotiations are underway for a site for new fire station in southwest Little Rock.