The governor of Mississippi is asking for $ 240 million in aid for an economic project

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) – Mississippi governor Tate Reeves said Tuesday he would ask lawmakers to approve an estimated $ 240 million of state incentives for an upstate economic development project.

The Republican governor declined to name the company, saying he had signed a non-disclosure agreement.

“When we go through the legislative process and after signing the final agreements, we will announce that the agreement is finalized,” he said at a press conference.

Reeves said the company was large and “has a long history of success.”

Mississippi governors often have tight deadlines to push through legislature incentive packages for major economic development projects, and it is not unusual for them to try to keep company names secret until deals are finalized.

Some lawmakers have voiced concerns about the extraordinary session, which starts on Wednesday.

“We don’t have much detail right now, but we’re concerned that Republican leaders will try to push through some kind of corporate social package with little debate or oversight,” Republican Dana Criswell of Olive Branch, member of Mississippi Freedom Caucus, said in an email on Tuesday .

Reeves announced on Monday it is calling on legislators in Capitol to consider incentives for the company to create 1,000 jobs over the next few years. He said the average salary would be $ 93,000 – far more than the average wage for a job in one of the poorest states in the US

The project includes “a rolled aluminum plant, biochar plants, and some other industrial plants,” Reeves said in a press release. Alabama border.

The proposed state incentive package includes $ 155 million in direct contributions, about $ 25 million for roads in and around the project site, money for land purchases and income tax relief, Reeves said Tuesday.

Many lawmakers “probably have a pretty good idea of ​​who the company is,” he said, and the project could attract other companies.

“It will be transformative for this region of our state,” Reeves said.

The governor said the company would spend $ 2.5 billion, which would be the largest upfront investment to date for a company seeking state incentives to locate in Mississippi.

The previous record was in 2016, when Continental Tire announced an investment of $ 1.45 billion to build a manufacturing facility in downtown Mississippi. The German company has promised 2,500 jobs with an average payout of around $ 40,000 a year.

In a 2016 special session, lawmakers approved a $ 263 million loan to Continental, including $ 20 million to be repaid by Hinds County. For other tax credits and aids, the Associated Press estimated that the value of all incentives for Continental would exceed $ 600 million. Continental plant opened in 2019.

Reeves said talks about the new project began less than four months ago.

He said the state would have “aggressive” laws to recover the investment if the company did not deliver on its promises. Republicans control the Mississippi House and Senate. Reeves said he hoped members of both parties would support the project.

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