$400 Million Tax Incentive is in the Works for Simmons Food Plant

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A $400 million tax incentive could be on the table for Benton county to help cover the costs of the Simmons Food Plant between Gentry and Decatur.

Tuesday, the Benton County Quorum court discussed a proposed tax incentive for Simmons Food Plant.

The mayor of Decatur, where the plant will be built, said this is a good move for the city, and could attract even more businesses to the area. 

“Giving them this tax abatement will enable them to do greater things for Northwest Arkansas, and the state of Arkansas,” said Mayor Bob Tharp. “It is not coming out of any tax payer base. It is taking out of the potential dollars that could’ve been collected on the tax payer base.”

The ordinance would allow the county to give Simmons a tax break for 20 years.

Simmons would pay 35% of of their taxes during that time.

The county wouldn’t collect all of the taxes that would typically be taken, so Simmons can use that cash to fund the plant. 

But Jimmy Roberts, who lives a mile away from the proposed plant said this decision could end up hurting Benton county tax payers.

If I get ready to build a business I have to get the money and have to do it own my own. The tax payers don’t give it to me,” explained Roberts. “If they want to build a chicken plant, let them build it on their own. Let them build it in an area that is compatible, not where they’re building.” 

Roberts also has concerns about pollution coming from the plant onto his land.

This was the second reading of ordinance. 

The quorum court will decide whether to approve this tax bond or not at it’s next meeting. 

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