High Court says $400,000 for Local Projects Unconstitutional

DECEMBER 15, 2006 - Posted at 7:32 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - The Arkansas Supreme Court says the state's constitution was violated when lawmakers appropriated $400,000 for street improvements in Bigelow.

Justices yesterday reversed a Pulaski County judge's decision that upheld the funding of sewer and street improvements in the small Arkansas city, and sent the case back to the judge for a new ruling.

Former state Representative Mike Wilson of Jacksonville had challenged several similar local projects funded through the state's General Improvement Fund during last year's regular session.

The court dismissed most of Wilson's appeal of the projects but ruled that the Bigelow funds violated a constitutional prohibition against funding strictly local projects.

Bigelow's attorneys argued that the General Improvement Fund could be used by lawmakers to fill in funding gaps left in jurisdictions around the state.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)