Superproject Bill Faces Little Opposition

February 10, 2003
Posted at: 2:44 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Legislation to update Arkansas' economic development incentives is moving through with little opposition. So now some are turning attention to a superproject fund.

The House is expected to vote this week on a bill by Danny Ferguson of Forrest City intended to make Arkansas' incentive package more competitive with other states. Governor Mike Huckabee has said that improving economic development and creating a superproject fund are important. But a superproject fund is not part of that bill.

Last week, Toyota announced that it had chosen San Antonio over a site near Marion for a new plant. Some say that decision drives home the case for stepping up Arkansas' economic development efforts. Economic Development Director Jim Pickens says today that he wants and expects a superproject fund to be pursued.

Huckabee proposed financing the superproject fund with nearly $40 million in additional revenue generated as part of a five-eighths-cent sales tax increase. But legislators have rejected that tax increase for now.

Some legislators have suggested that a superproject fund could be financed through a temporary surcharge on the sales tax.

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