Arkansas Communities to Share in $52 Million General Revenue Funds - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Little Rock, AR

Arkansas Communities to Share in $52 Million General Revenue Funds

APRIL 18, 2005 - Posted at 7:20 a.m. CDT

 

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Local communities around the state are to share in $52 million of general revenue funds that their representatives and senators hashed out as the Legislature adjourned last week.

But critics of the last-minute funding say those millions were spent unnecessarily while the state has court-ordered education improvements that need to be made.  The discretionary money in the fund was increased by millions during the session as legislators took money from state reserve or savings funds to pay for local projects.

One critic is Governor Huckabee, who called the Legislature's general improvement spending "irresponsible and reckless."  He is joined by Senator Dave Bisbee, a Rogers Republican and chairman of the budget committee.  Bisbee said the push for more money was fueled by "greed."

But Democratic Senator Bob Johnson of Bigelow said the projects are needed and do not signify legislative greed.

The extra spending comes after the Legislature agreed to use $40 million from the property tax relief fund to keep the state budget balanced over the next two years.  Legislators also finished the session by agreeing to a $104 million plan to pay for repairs to public school buildings.  That figure is $50 million less than originally planned.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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