The discussion of corporate welfare — millions of tax money distributed by the state of Arkansas to private businesses — raised this question:
Are recipients of Arkansas tax money, such as the $4 million Gov. Asa Hutchinson recentlygave CZ-USA, a gunmaker based in the Czech Republic, required to sign a pledge that they won’t participate in boycotts against Israel or take a reduction in state payment if they don’t? Or does this anti-free-speech measures apply only to Arkansas companies like the Arkansas Times that receive no government handouts?
I’ve put the question to the governor’s office and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
UPDATE: A response from AEDC spokeswoman Brandi Hinkle:
AEDC does not include that clause in grant agreements. The Israel boycott contract clause only applies to the state’s procurement process and not to incentive grant contracts, which have their own statutory criteria.
However, under Act 710 of 2017, whether a company boycotts Israel is a legitimate factor to be considered in deciding if the state will award a discretionary grant, and that is taken into account when evaluating a company.