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, SB 2001, SB 2002, and HB 1 have been passed by both chambers and will now head to Reeves’ desk to be signed. The three bills aim to create a special fund called the Triple Crown Project Fund for the expansion of Steel Dynamics’ campus in Columbus.
The company, which is located on a Tennessee Valley Authority Mega Site, will be constructing a new low-carbon, aluminum flat rolled mill and a biocarbon production facility in the Golden Triangle Industrial Park.
Construction is expected to begin in 2023 with completion of the aluminum mill in 2025.
The $2.5 billion project, which is anticipated to bring over 1,000 jobs with an average salary of $93,000 to the area, will nearly double the previous largest corporate capital investment in state history. Steel Dynamics 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 discussed 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 included $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 granted 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 Steel Dynamics.
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 Steel Dynamics 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.
Both the House and Senate have adjourned sine die with the passing of all three bills, ending the special session.
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