How Could Amendment 2 Affect You? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Melissa Simas reports

How Could Amendment 2 Affect You?

September 2, 2004 -- Posted 2:30 p.m. CDT

Jonesboro, AR -- Back in February of 2003 Marion Arkansas was let down when it learned it would not be the home of the newest Toyota plant. Instead the Japanese auto maker chose to build an 800 million dollar plant in San Antonio, Texas.

Niel Crowson with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission believes the state lacked the right tools to secure this deal

"This is something omitted in our toolbox," said Crowson.

That specific tool is the General Assembly's authority to issue general obligation bonds for the purpose of attracting industry to the state. And in order to make that happen, Crowson says voters on November 2nd will have to decide if they are in favor of Amendment 2.

"Amendment 2 is needed in order to allow the state to recruit companies that will provide much higher paying jobs for our state," said Crowson.

Crowson says in order to attract these industries and businesses that must create at least 500 new jobs, the state must have money for infrastructure needs to make the site suitable to support the project. Amendment 2 would enable the legislature to consider issuing up to 2 million dollars in bonds, after getting recommendations from the state's economic and finance departments.

"They would automatically be authorized to issue the bonds," said Crowson.

Don't be mistaken says Crowson, went you go to cast your vote on this issue, keep this in mind.

"Amendment 2 is really about jobs rather than raising taxes," said Crowson. "We're asking the voters to vote for Amendment 2 so that we will be on a level playing field with the other states that we compete with."

Supporters say this project has been successful in other states. Back in 1988, a company in Kentucky invested 800 million dollars in a plant, and that investment later grew to 5.3 billion dollars.

At this time there is no organized opposition to this amendment.

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