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City leaders support plan to help finance Dassault expansion | News

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City leaders support plan to help finance Dassault expansion
News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - City leaders will vote to issue up to $60 million in bonds for the Dassault Falcon Jet expansion project announced earlier this year.

It's the latest plan to provide incentives for the private jet manufacturer, including a promise of $43 million in rental credits from the Little Rock airport and a 3.9 percent rebate on 400 employee salaries for 10 years from the state government. Little Rock city board member Lance Hines told THV11 that Tuesday night's vote shouldn't have any opposition from his peers.

"There's no city money or funds. We're simply the issuing authority to allow Dassault to access that municipal bond market," he explained.

The low interest, long term fixed rate bonds would make financing the $60 million expansion much easier on Dassault, who announced plans to double the size of its Little Rock operation in May.

"It's a good sign that Dissault's making a long term commitment to our community, keep providing jobs, keep the jobs we have already, and then with future production capacity the ability to add more jobs and hopefully employ some of the folks that lost their jobs when Raytheon filed for bankruptcy," said Hines.

The bonds may be issued in increments and can only be used to fund new construction at the airport. The company has not released the exact number of new jobs created by the expansion in part because their workforce fluctuates regularly with the demand of private jets. Hines is confident the project will create employment.

"This gives us a very good feeling that Dissault's gonna be here for the long term. They're committed to Little Rock, and we're committed to them," Hines concluded.

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