By Pat Stacey
The City of Longview and Gregg County are in a great position to team up to bring a new performing arts center to the city. The state legislature has approved a provision to allow the city to increase the hotel – motel tax by two percentage points to 9 percent. The additional tax revenue will have the potential to fund the operation of a multi-purpose facility, probably on the current Maude Cobb complex site. This is another great example of the Gregg County Commissioners court and the Longview City Council working together with vision to serve the needs of Gregg County citizens. While this project is still on the drawing boards, the additional tax would be used to operate a new facility. The county would consider building it without taking on any additional debt and then the city would run it. Longview is growing and leading the area in economic highpoints. It may be a product of the current energy sector growth, but no matter the reason, the time is right to make this happen. State Senator Kevin Eltife and State Representative Chuck Hopson stepped up to move the legislation to approval and it now waits on the governor's desk. No one entity could take this on solo so it, again, is very refreshing to see strong cooperation between city and county. Next will be the long term plan to bring the facility from dream to reality and doing it will make for a Better East Texas.