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Delinquent Pine Bluff businesses could be fined

The City of Pine Bluff wants delinquent business owners to pay their taxes, and it might start fining them if they don't.
PINE BLUFF, AR - The City of Pine Bluff wants delinquent business owners to pay their taxes, and it might start fining them if they don't.

There is a plan in the works to crack down on businesses that are not paying their share of the Advertising and Promotion sales tax. The businesses could end up paying $500 a day until they are no longer delinquent.

"What we're working on is putting a little more teeth in the law for those who are intent on being criminals," says Pine Bluff Advertising & Promotion Commission Executive Director Bob Purvis.

Purvis is asking the city council to consider the harsher punishments.

"What we're trying to do is tie the collection of taxes, and any other city ordinances, to keeping an occupation license. If you don't have an occupation license, then we will say you will be subject to a fine every day," says Purvis.

If you don't pay the fine, you'd go to jail.

The tax, around since the 1970s, funds the Pine Bluff Convention Center and marketing for the city.

Monday night, as the Pine Bluff City Council heard a second reading of the proposal's title, Purvis told FOX16 that five-percent of the city's hotels and restaurants are breaking the law.

Purvis says the biggest offender owes the city $60,000.

"As of right now, of course, we have judgements and liens filed on him. Personally, I think the person responsible should be in jail, and that's what we're working on," says Purvis.

Right now, Purvis is talking with the city attorney about the language to put in the proposal. They are looking at what other cities do to make sure everything is legal before they present it to city council.

The ordinance will not go into effect until 2013 if it is passed.
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