Leader Blues

Monday, August 27, 2007

TOP STORY >>Snyder uncertain on center funding

By JEFFREY SMITH
Leader staff writer

With Congress in recess, it’s still too early to know if the Senate will fund the Jacksonville-Little Rock Air Force Base Joint Education Center this year, Cong. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, said Wednesday.

Snyder, visiting constituents at the Beebe Knight’s Super Foods, said the Arkansas congressional delegation has “strong support for the center, but it is an expensive project.”

Under Snyder’s guidance, the House funded the center at $9.8 million, but the funding was stripped in the Senate Military Construction Committee budget.

Snyder, who is seeking re-election next year, said the Arkansas delegation hopes to restore the Air Force’s share of the $15 million project either in the Senate or in joint conference committee.

Jacksonville funded its $5 million share of the college when voters approved a two-year penny sales tax in 2003.

When it is built on base property but outside the fence, the center will be the first such cooperative venture between the Air Force and a city.

Around 20 constituents waited in line inside the grocery store for the congressman to listen and answer their questions and see if he could help with their problems. His aides wrote down every question asked by each person for future discussion or action.

The group had a range of questions for Snyder dealing from health care and Social Security to soldiers returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Ellen Whitington arrived to show her support for the congressman.

Edith Long wanted to speak with him about two issues. She said, “I think the taxes on funerals is ridiculous and you can’t live on $700 a month with Social Security and disability,” she added.