2 of 3 bills needed for $2.5 billion economic project pass both chambers

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Mississippi’s special session officially commenced Wednesday morning to discuss what Governor Tate Reeves has called the “biggest economic development project” in state history.

As of now, the House and Senate have passed SB 2001 and SB 2002, which aim to create a special fund called the Triple Crown Project Fund for the construction of an unnamed company.

According to SB 2001, the funds will be used for “certain flat rolled aluminum production facilities, biocarbon production facilities, certain other industrial facilities, and related port improvement projects.”

The House has also passed HB 1, which revises the definition of the word “project” under the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Act to include the types of projects named in SB 2001.

The $2.5 billion project, which is anticipated to bring over 1,000 jobs with an average salary of $93,000 to the Golden Triangle, will nearly double the previous largest corporate capital investment in state history if passed by the legislature. The company has also stated that it will pay for the college education of each of the employee’s children.

“It’s an incredible long-term deal of the state of Mississippi,” Senator Briggs Hopson, the author of both bills, explained. “Obviously, we are making an investment up front—up to $246 million upfront—but the long-term payout on this is just phenomenal for the state.”

The Mississippi legislature will discuss how the state’s up-front investment—which is set to total $246,798,000—will be spent throughout the special session, along with additional tax incentives, grants, and inducements.

These investments include $25 million designated for road improvements on the 2,000 acres of land the company wishes to procure, as well as $1.6 million for water and sewer improvements.

The state will also grant an $18 million loan to Lowndes County for the remaining costs of purchasing the property. According to Senator Harkins, the county owns 75 percent of the land at this time and is planning to donate the property to the company.

Out of the overall funding, $54 million will be made available to the company immediately once the bills are approved. Other tranches of funding will be given after the plant’s completion and once hiring goals are met.

Hopson added that all funds dedicated by the state would also be returned if the company does not meet certain requirements throughout the project’s duration.

“There are callback revisions and that is put into the agreement with the company that allows our state to go back and get funds back if they are not utilized in the right way,” Hopkins stated.

The bills also include several tax incentives for the company, such as a 15-year, 100 percent corporate income tax credit that starts no later than 24 months after the date of completion of each plant. Additional incentives include a 10-year, 3.5 percent gross payroll tax rebate that caps at $45 million, a sales and use tax exemption for construction and equipping the plant, and $29 million for public infrastructure.

The House Ways and Means Committee met to discuss SB 2001, SB 2002, and HB 1 briefly at 1:00 p.m., with the House later passing all three bills one hour later. SB 2001 and SB 2002 will now head to Reeves’ desk while the Senate votes on HB 1.

The House is currently subject to call and the Senate is in recess until 3:30 p.m. Click here to watch the livestream.

Gov. Reeves provides additional details on $2.5 billion economic project

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