Sales Tax Shuffle Could Mean Growth For Lufkin Economy

With the indefinite idling of Abitibi Consolidated and an economy that is still on the mend, city of Lufkin officials are hoping a shift in sales tax distribution will help put the city in the hunt for new business.

"There are 515 cities in texas that have this kind of plan to attract business and if we don't have one we're going to be playing on an unlevel playing field," said City Manager C.G. Maclin. "They'll have 11 players and we'll have five."

The plan would move one eighth of one cent from the city's sales tax revenues into an economic development fund. Opponents to the plan say reducing an already tight general budget would force the city to either reduce services or raise other taxes to make up for the change. But Maclin says the city's track record speaks for itself.

"The tax base in this city has not changed for 13 years unless the citizens have voted for it to change," said Maclin. "If the city council says the tax base is going to stay the same then you can look back and see that they are going to stay true to their word."

The fund would total more than 700 thousand dollars and would be used to establish an industrial park large enough to accommodate growing companies. And if approved by voters, Maclin says the plan could play a key roll in renewing Lufkin's economy.