AEDC Budget Bill Calls For $200M Superproject Funding, $50M Quick Action Fund

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 125 views 

The appropriation bill that funds the Arkansas Economic Development Commission will allow for a lot of money to help land economic projects this year, according to the bill introduced Monday.

The Joint Budget Committee turned in Senate Bill 111 that would fund AEDC, effective July 1, 2015.

The bill has a $200 million line-item appropriation for funding of so-called “superprojects” under Amendment 82 of the Arkansas Constitution.

It also seeks $50 million for spending through the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund.

Information about economic development projects are often held close to the vest and are not considered public record under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

However, Amendment 82 was used in the 2013 session to help land the Big River Steel superproject in Mississippi County.

Officials broke ground on the project, south of Osceola, last year. The $1.3 billion project is expected to create 2,000 construction jobs as well as 545 jobs at the mill.

The budget sets aside $22.2 million in state funding with roughly half of the money going toward industrial training.

The bill also would also allow $30 million to be spent on a Technology Acceleration Program.

The budget bill also sets the salary for the commission’s director at $139,706, although there has been discussion of raising the AEDC director’s salary or allowing for private funds to enhance the pay for the position.

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