A city committee looking at operations of the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission recommended no major changes in its tax collections and spending. Some suggestions for improvements are expected when the final report is issued in late July.
The commission is financed through Little Rock’s 2% hotel and restaurant sales tax. The tax generates about $9.5 million a year, with $2.5 million of the annual revenues dedicated to debt service on bonds issued by the city on behalf of the commission.
The Hotel-Restaurant Tax Review Committee said the city board of directors should review the commission again in 2015, when the final bonds will mature. Susan Fleming, a former Little Rock city manager, chaired the committee.
Mark Abernathy, government affairs chairman for Consolidated Arkansas Restaurant Industries, said an industry-sponsored survey of 41 Little Rock restaurant owners found dissatisfaction with the tax and how the commission spends the revenues.
Abernathy said many restaurant owners are concerned that the tax is collected by restaurants across Little Rock but most of the revenue goes to promote the city’s downtown.
Bonds supported by Little Rock’s hotel and restaurant tax are rated A3 by Moody’s Investors Service.