Almost $1M in surplus cash must go back to state

(AP) _ An Arkansas judge has ruled that almost $1 million in state economic development funding must be returned to public reserves.The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the nearly $970,000 would have paid for new restrooms at a Ward baseball park, an electric generator for a Cabot animal shelter, a jail in England and books for a library program in Pulaski County.

But Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled on Tuesday that an October decision by the Arkansas Supreme Court clearly requires the state get its money back.

Piazza also ruled that about a third of the money must go toward paying the legal costs of an ex-lawmaker who brought the lawsuit that led to the high-court ruling that legislators had illegally funded a grant program out of the state General Improvement Fund.

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