February 4, 2004 - Posted at 12:30 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Legislative committees voted down a measure today that would move millions of dollars spent on local improvement projects to public education.
The measure by Representative Marvin Childers of Blytheville would eliminate the use of state funds to pay for local projects, from sidewalks to civic centers. Instead, the bill would channel the money from overhauling Arkansas unconstitutional school system.
Childers says those projects have gotten an average of $39 million a year over more than 20 years. He says the money for what he calls "pork" projects could instead be used for education and lessen the need for raising taxes.
The bill failed in the Special Legislative Subcommittee this morning and the Joint Budget Committee voted down a motion to bypass the subcommittee and bring the bill before the full committee.
General improvement funds totaled 90 million dollars last year. Spending decisions were split evenly between the governor and the Legislature.