- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 2002

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Arkansas has rejected millions of dollars in tax help for native son Bill Clinton's presidential library under a program that provides incentives for businesses.
The decision means that the nonprofit William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, which had sought $3.62 million from state and local government, will have to rely on private funding.
The Advantage Arkansas program offers tax credits and certain tax refunds to keep businesses in Arkansas and attract new investments. It does not cover nonprofit organizations, said Jim Pickens, director of the Arkansas Economic Development Department.
"The decision had to be made on the basis on what is legal and what is not. I and the lawyers believe the law is clear," Mr. Pickens said Tuesday.
The foundation had sought $3 million from the state and a combined $620,000 from the county and city through the program, which was set up in 1985 when Mr. Clinton was governor.
The foundation said it would raise $200 million in private funds for the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, which will include a museum, archive and public policy school.
Foundation president Skip Rutherford argued the complex will have an annual $10.7 million economic impact.
"We believe nonprofits can generate economic benefits," Mr. Rutherford said.
Pickens said the library might be eligible for other state benefits, but he offered no suggestions.
Construction began last week. It's scheduled to open in 2004.


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