Little Rock mayor proposes new sales tax and local business opportunities

Shaun H. Ruff

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. made several announcements during the State of the City on Thursday night.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. held a virtual State of the City.

The focus was on building a better Little Rock as we move out of the pandemic.

Some of the new announcements included city efforts to reduce the racial disparities in the city and create better education opportunities for our students, but a big focus of tonight was strengthening our local economy.

Helen Grace King, the owner of At the Corner, has made a lot of adjustments during the pandemic with outdoor dining and limited seating. 

“Local business and small, family-owned and operated business is the backbone to our community. We are the heartbeat to our community,” said King.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Junior made it clear— one of his biggest visions for 2021 is investing in our local economy.

“We will continue our leveraging power to support local companies to kick start our economy post-pandemic,” said Scott.

The mayor said 4,000 jobs have been brought to Little Rock since the start of his administration and he wants to continue the momentum.

The city will begin BUILD Academy, a program to help entrepreneurs learn how to start their business.

“BUILD aims to create opportunity by addressing wealth gaps and access in one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of Little Rock,” said Scott.

The program will be in the Willie Henton Center on 12th street. Applications will start being accepted in April.

The mayor also announced the plans to continue his 1 cent sales tax initiative. It was postponed last year due to the pandemic. 

The money from this tax will go towards economic development, revitalizing city parks, reforming public safety, and improving our roads and bike lanes.

 “If we unite, grow, and transform our city through these strategic initiatives we will chart a new course for the city of Little Rock,” said Scott.

The mayor also announced a new weekend festival called LITfest. It will feature live concerts, food, and networking opportunities. The plan is to launch LITfest in 2022.

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