Local & Regional News
3:30 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Lawmakers Tout Bill For Job Creation, Community Development

Two Arkansas state representatives are sponsoring a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives to bolster job creation and community investment across the state.

Reps. Darrin Williams (D-Little Rock) and Jonathan Dismang (R-Searcy) first touted HB132 -- also known as the New Markets Jobs Act of 2013 -- on March 7.

Based on an existing federal plan, the bill aims to create jobs for thousands of Arkansans through private investments channeled into community development.

Such investments, which are valued at approximately $250 million, will allow unemployed Arkansans to obtain jobs paying more than minimum wage.

According to Williams, similar bills have already seen success in 11 other states, including Missouri and Florida..

"[Missouri] has created 7,500 jobs since passing this legislation," Williams said in a press conference held Tuesday. "So we believe this is a smart way to give more tools to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to try to expand existing businesses and create jobs as well as try to create new jobs in the state of Arkansas." 

The New Markets Jobs Act is currently co-sponsored by 60 House members and will be reviewed by the Committee of Agriculture, Forestry & Economic Development later this week.