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LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court says a system of grants lawmakers used to pay for local projects around the state violated a constitutional requirement that budget measures have a distinctly stated purpose.

Justices on Thursday reversed a lower court's ruling in favor of $2.9 million that went toward one of eight planning districts in 2015. The case was brought by former state Rep. Mike Wilson, who was also behind a lawsuit that prompted the court in 2006 to bar the Legislature from directly funding local projects around the state with surplus money.

The court did not rule on Wilson's argument that the grants also violated a ban on strictly local legislation.

Wilson argued the legislation allocating the money provides few details about how it will be spent.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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  • RBear
    October 5, 2017 at 6:05 p.m.

    Thank you AR Supreme Court. It's unfortunate that AR taxpayers had to suffer loss for the actions of these former legislators. Hopefully their actions will be punished, including attempting to recover funds from them for the state.

  • Whippersnapper
    October 5, 2017 at 9:30 p.m.

    In many cases this money is unrecoverable. A group of citizens ask for a grant and receive it, they spend it all (hundreds of thousands of dollars) making improvements to a city park and document where every dollar went. Who do you go after? The citizens who followed state law and spent the money on a public property? The city that owns the park? The contractors who did the work?
    .
    It is good to see this come to an end, but the funds already spent are simply gone.

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