State briefs


Little Rock police

open investigation

after complaints

LITTLE ROCK -- Little Rock Police say an internal investigation is underway after authorities received complaints that a current police recruit had posted a racial slur on his personal Facebook page four years ago.

The police department responded Friday to a letter sent by the Little Rock Black Police Officers Association, which called for the investigation and for the recruit to be removed from the current training class.

Police say they're also looking into a "negative photograph" that was posted on the wall of the downtown police station that includes a drawing of a person pointing a gun at a person who appears to be kneeling with hands cuffed behind the back. The image includes the words "Don't touch our glass."

Police say the internal investigation is expected to be completed next week.

Jefferson County

won't renew economic development sales tax

PINE BLUFF -- A sales tax increase approved by Jefferson County voters in 2011 to fund economic development won't be renewed next year.

According to the Pine Bluff Commercial , the Economic Development Corp. of Jefferson County voted this week to let the tax sunset in 2018. The sales tax was part of the "Penny for Progress" initiative that funded both economic development and infrastructure improvements.

The portion of the tax that funds infrastructure does not have a sunset provision.

The board's chairman, George Makris, noted that Pine Bluff voters this year approved a separate sales tax that will fund city improvements. The Go Forward Pine Bluff plan is expected to raise about $4 million per year for the city.

"Letting the tax sunset will give the voters a break, and I am confident that if we need it back, the voters will approve another tax," Makris said.

The Jefferson County tax was estimated to bring in about $3.5 million annually, and Makris said that number has been on target.

"We have $13.5 million in assets, and assuming that we don't make any more payouts, we're going to have about $15 million," Makris said. "I don't see an immediate need for us to stockpile money."

Since the tax was approved in 2011, the proceeds have been used for improvements or incentives at multiple businesses, including a more than $280,000 incentive package for a gluten-free flour mill that set's to open next year in the Jefferson Industrial Park.

State Desk on 11/25/2017

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