Coalition Forms to Give Lawmakers More Power to Attract Big Projects

AUGUST 4, 2004 - Posted at 5:51 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A statewide coalition has formed to help pass a state constitutional amendment that would give lawmakers more power to attract industry.

The Committee for More and Better Jobs wants legislators to be able to issue general obligation bonds without voter approval.  Amendment 2 defines big projects as those intended to create at least 500 jobs and include a minimum $500 million investment.

Committee leader Jim Pickens says Arkansas is at a disadvantage among Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky, which can quickly issue the bonds.

Pickens is a former director of the Arkansas Department of Economic Development.

About 100 people, including leaders in all 75 counties and regional coordinators, make up the coalition.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)