May 28, 2007--Posted at 10:55 a.m. CDT
BLYTHEVILLE, AR--A northeast Arkansas economic development official says surrounding states that landed a Toyota plant and a steel mill belong to a "league in which Arkansas is not presently equipped to compete." Clif Chitwood, a top official with the Great River Economic Development Area, says the state's "superprojects" amendment remains "too restrictive."
The 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment allows the state to offer up to 5 percent of general revenues for projects bringing at least 500 news jobs and more than 500 (m) million dollars in investments. Instead, Chitwood says the bond market would be a better limiting factor, as it would not allow a state to take on excessive debt in pursuit of projects like ThyssenKrupp A-G's three (b) billion dollar steel mill and Toyota's one-point-three (b) billion dollar plant.