Report urges caution on steel mill project

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) An independent analysis of a proposed $1.1 billion steel plant in northeastern Arkansas suggests the state economic office overestimated the benefits of $125 million in incentives the state is being asked to approve to close the deal.

Gov. Mike Beebe and principles of Big River Steel introduced the proposal earlier this year. The deal, which officials say would bring 2,000 construction jobs and 525 permanent jobs averaging $75,000 a year when the plant is operational, is contingent upon legislative approval of a $125 million bond issue under provisions of Amendment 82.

Legislative leaders hired independent consults IHS Global Insights and Regional Economic Models Inc. to analyze the financials of the proposal.

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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)