by Max Brantley
Strong Mayor Mark Stodola has appointed a committee to study the two-cent sales tax applied to restaurant and hotel sales -- the "hamburger tax." They'll study how the levy is used and presumably whether another penny might be in order. (Hey, don't shout at me.) Inevitably, I"d guess there'd be some discussion on the wisdom of past expenditures by the LR Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is overseen by the appointed Advertising and Promotion Commission.
Some have eyed this as a source for park improvements. Some say "over my dead body." The A&P has been generally resistant to overtures from City Hall to tap its revenues for the city budget, even for expenditures allowed by state law, such as parks.
News release on the jump.
LITTLE ROCK NEWS RELEASE
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola today announced the members of a Hotel/Restaurant Tax Review Committee which will examine and advise him on the taxing structure regarding Little Rock hotels and restaurants. This tax mechanism is created by state law and given to advertising and promotion commissions throughout the state.
“The committee will look at the amount of taxes that can be levied, the permitted uses of the tax, who pays the tax and how it is paid, and what benefits come to our citizens by virtue of the taxes received,” noted the Mayor in making the announcement.
Mayor Stodola will convene the first meeting of this body on Friday, February 15 at 12 noon at Little Rock City Hall in the City Board Chambers.
The members of the committee are:
· Susan Fleming, public finance underwriter; former Little Rock City Manager
· Larry Carpenter, Holiday Inn Presidential Center
· Patricia Johnson, U. S. Bank
· Gregg Herning, Peabody Little Rock
· Paul Young, Jr., Arkansas Municipal League
· Kathy Webb, Lily’s Dim Sum; State Representative
· Henry Lee, Vino’s
· Bill Spivey, attorney, Wright, Lindsey & Jennings, LLP
· Chris Tanner, Cheers in the Heights
· Pat Miller, Moore Stephens Frost
· Dr. Billie Calloway, educator
· Larry Lichty, LEL Enterprises; former City Director
· Hal Kemp, attorney, Kemp Duckett & Arnold
· Rick O’Brien, Crews & Associates
· Kim Evans, UALR Non-profit Center
“I am appreciative that these citizens have agreed to serve,” said Mayor Stodola. “Their expertise, experience, and advice will be important as the City surveys all the taxing structures that exist or are provided to municipalities.”
“I am pleased that the Advertising and Promotion Commission staff has offered to assist this committee in gathering the necessary information for the committee’s review,” added the Mayor.