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In a year in which lawmakers had to tighten the state’s fiscal belt because of the slowing economy, one category of spending wasn’t forced onto a diet.
Lawmakers poured as much money into special local projects as last year, approving tens of millions of dollars for everything from hometown ballfields and small-town tourism promotion to new libraries, county airport facilities and costly college buildings.
The spending included 470 local assistance grants that were not revealed to the public until hours before the 2008 legislative session ended. The $6 million in grants were just about the last thing budget-writers added to the budget before approving it on the final day of the session.
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