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House set to vote on steel-mill proposal

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 4, 2013 at 7:30 a.m.

The Arkansas House is set to vote on a proposal to provide a company with $125 million in state financing to help build a new steel mill in northeastern Arkansas.

Democratic state Rep. Monte Hodges of Blytheville sponsored the bill and says he'll present it before the full House on Thursday. It would authorize Arkansas to issue bonds to provide a loan and pay some of the construction costs of a $1.1 billion steel mill in Osceola. The company, Big River Steel, is promising to create at least 525 permanent jobs.

The Senate approved identical legislation by a 26-6 vote Tuesday.

Gov. Mike Beebe and legislative leaders have endorsed the proposal. But some conservatives and a competing steel mill in the area have opposed the plan.

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