Arkansas Legislature approves steel mill funding

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Arkansas is set to provide a new steel company with $125 million in financing and tax breaks to build a mill in the northeast part of the state now that the Legislature has given final approval to the plan.

By an 81-9 vote, House lawmakers on Tuesday passed a Senate-approved budget bill to fund Gov. Mike Beebe's proposal to provide Big River Steel with a loan and pay some construction costs of a $1.1 billion steel mill the company wants to build in Osceola. In exchange, the company promises to create at least 525 permanent jobs with an average annual wage of at least $75,000 - twice the state's average.

Big River Steel has said it wants to close the deal in the third quarter of this year.

COMPLETE COVERAGEAmendment 82 gives state flexibility to seal super deal (Jan. 21)Legislative consultant to take crack at Big River (Feb. 24)Report urges caution on steel mill project (March 22)Officials discuss $1.1B steel mill project (March 26)Arkansas steel mill proposal gains traction (April 1)Ark. Senate committee weighs steel mill proposal (April 2)Ark. House committee OKs steel mill plan (April 3)Arkansas House approves steel mill funding (April 8)Arkansas Legislature approves steel mill funding (April 16)

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