The Jefferson County Economic Development Alliance has proposed a 0.5% increase in the local sales tax, with revenue to fund economic development in the Pine Bluff area.

Alliance president Lou Ann Nisbett said at a public hearing last week that the voter-approved sales tax would generate $4.5 million annually for incentives that would bring industry to the county. Two-thirds of the revenue is expected to come from Pine Bluff.

Nisbett said the additional sales tax would cost a resident with an annual income of $30,000 about $7 a month. The new tax would be added on top of Arkansas’ 6% sales tax, Jefferson County’s 1.5% sales tax, and Pine Bluff’s 1% sales tax.

Pine Bluff’s population has dropped from 57,000 in 1990 to an estimated 52,000 in 2006. Revenues from the sales tax could fund economic development projects and job training efforts.

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