Arkansas has received criticism in the past for its apparent lack of attracting high-tech industries to its borders. However, this is one criticism that may have seen its day. More and more companies, particularly high-tech European companies, are deciding that Arkansas has what it takes to support their business needs. Companies such as French aircraft maker Dassualt, Italian friction components manufacturer ITT Industries, and Japanese-owned Eakas Arkansas, are reshaping the economic landscape of Arkansas.
These companies have cited a skilled work force and the enthusiasm of local and state leaders as being significant factors in their decisions to do business in Arkansas. Passage of the recent Super Projects Funding Amendment 2 passed in November 2004 is also providing Arkansas officials with the ability to pursue more companies wanting to invest at least $500 million and employ a minimum of 500 workers in Arkansas.
The law provides the governor and lawmakers with authority to quickly approve general obligation bonds to finance the infrastructure, site preparation work and work-force training for companies willing to commit to super-projects that meet the law’s threshold requirements. Many believe that the new law was instrumental in Arkansas record-breaking 2004 performance which saw the development of over $1 billion in new business projects.