State Using Districts To Fund Local Projects

Oct 13, 2013

A successful 2006 lawsuit by a legislator blocked General Assembly members from doling out state tax money for local projects. But the practice has survived, with legislators now using planning and development districts

The state has eight of the districts and a legislator's letter of support for monetary requests is either required or recommended in five of them for grants to be awarded.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that former legislator Mike Wilson of Jacksonville says the new system is making an end run around the law.

This fiscal year, $37 million is available to the eight development districts.

Democratic Sen. Bruce Maloch of Magnolia says he thinks it's appropriate for a legislator to write a letter of support, but says legislators can't direct money to specific projects.