Lawmakers Approve Bill to Bring Tire Company to Miss.By Jeffrey Hess | Published 26 Apr 2013 11:44am |
Mississippi lawmakers are acting quickly to approve an economic development plan to bring the tire company Yokohama to Mississippi.
State lawmakers have been called back to the capitol in Jackson by the Governor for a special session to consider the package.
The state is considering $130 million in bonds to buy land, add infrastructure and start a training center. The state is also offering a variety of tax breaks to the company, but the total cost of those breaks is not clear.
The company picked a location outside of West Point in northeast Mississippi. The plant is intended to be built in 4 phases with each phase bringing an estimated 500 jobs to the state.
Representative Jeff Smith, the chairman of the Ways and Means committee, predicts that project will bring in enough revenue to offset the amount the state is spending within its first two years of operation.
Residents from the area have come to the capitol to show their support for the proposal. Clay County has suffered with chronically high unemployment for years. Especially sense a food processing plant closed.
It is the closure of that plant that contributed to the West Point site being selected from the 3-thousand sites that the company considered. The company left a highly developed waste water treatment capacity that is necessary for tire production.
If approved, work at the site could begin as soon as this year.
While it is not part of this special session, several Democrats have used the time to make the case for the expansion of Medicaid as an economic development opportunity. The state has the option to expand the program to cover more Mississippians with the federal government pick up most of the cost.
Lawmakers did not re-approve or provide the money for the existing Medicaid program in a political fight over the expansion.
They will likely have to be called back again to address that issue before the program expires at the end of June. Governor Phil Bryant has said he will not do that until there is an agreement on Medicaid in place.
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