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New ‘Blueprint’ Lays Out Mississippi Economic Goals

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 13 Oct 2011 12:59pm | comments
A voting machine to weigh economic priorities.

A new report is setting a series of economic goals aimed at improving the state's economy. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the authors of the report hope it will influence the upcoming election.

The report, called Blueprint Mississippi 2011, lays out a series of goals intended to improve the state's economy.

Topping the list are improving the educational level of all Mississippians, expanding the health care sector, developing incentives to lure workers and businesses.....as well as promoting culture and racial reconciliation.

Blueprint chair and higher education Commissioner Hank Bounds says the Blueprint is intended to be a clear roadmap for the state.

"I think that when you read these goals. And you read these recommendations. Many of them are just intuitive. What we have tried to do is to really refine the wording and make certain that we get everybody focused on what really matters, and then build metrics for measuring success," Bounds said.

The Mississippi Economic Council will present specific policy recommendations and ways of measuring success to the state legislature early next year.

The timing of the report is significant because MEC president Blake Wilson thinks it can influence political debate ahead of the general election next month.

"This is saying 'ok this is the direction that the business community has set on the major issues that are impacting our world'. Here is what is important to the business community and these are going to be the priority goals," Wilson said.

The report was debuted around the state yesterday.

The president of Ingells Shipbuilding Irwin Edenson attended the Jackson rollout and says he likes the focus on education.

"They have to be able to read. They have to be able to do arithmetic. They have to be able to show up for work on time. there are some basic foundational things that they have got to come out of school with, otherwise everything we talk about here won't work," Edenson said.

The report's authors toured the state for months gathering input for the report...This is the second Blueprint Mississippi, the first was released in 2004.



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