May 7, 2003
Posted at: 1:00 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Legislative leaders and the administration of Governor Mike Huckabee have agreed on a compromise involving capital-improvements spending. The pact would allow some state money to go to local projects, and would provide funding for prison expansion and other state needs.
During the regular legislative session that ended abruptly on April 16th without a state budget in place, Huckabee had opposed spending state money on local projects during a fiscal crisis.
The agreement reached yesterday on use of the General Improvement Fund removes a stumbling block that had threatened progress toward agreement on a budget. It calls for about $90 million divided equally between the Legislature and the administration.
Huckabee told a statewide radio audience this morning that he is not in agreement with the plan. But he says he won't fight it, either.
Also approved under the deal:
Huckabee gave up his request for funding his projects entirely by July first. Some of them, however, will get money during the current fiscal year.
Money for economic development, to be used at the administration's discretion, was increased from $2 million to $5 million.
Legislators agreed to the administration's plan to use $10 million from the Department of Environmental Quality.