JACKSON, Miss.- Mississippi lawmakers aim to bring more manufacturers to the state after successful efforts such as the Nissan plant in Canton and Toyota in Tupelo.
Lawmakers are optimistic due to the change in leadership happening in Washington with the inauguration of Donald Trump.
“The consensus is that many of the onerous pieces of legislation President Obama put into effect such as at the EPA and other places, those are all going to be rolled back,” said Jay Moon President and CEO of Mississippi Manufacturers Association. “That is good news because those were going to end up costing manufacturers and businesses multi-millions of dollars to operate.”
However, some across the state are unsure of the incentives given to big businesses coming to Mississippi, mostly in the form of tax breaks.
Moon said that those concerns have been addressed by conservative leadership in the House and Senate over the last five years through workers compensation reform, reform in inventory tax, franchise tax was eliminated (over a 10 year period of time).
“But look at all of this on a positive side, it makes us more competitive in a global marketplace, more competitive with other states in the country, many states that never had those taxes to begin with,” said Moon.
Worries began to circulate when a reduction was made in state budgeting and many began to say the tax deductions needed to change, to which Moon discourages. Instead, he said, it is time to double down.
“It’s going to make us more competitive, give us more opportunity, create more jobs, increase capitol that is coming into the state, so it will be replaced,” said Moon.
Some of the tax revenue changes that were made in the 2016 session will not go into effect until 2018. Moon is confident those changes will hold up until effective.
The vision is forward. With constantly evolving and growing technologies, Moon along with others in favor of these manufacturers calling Mississippi home, said we have to keep up.
He calls them “disruptive technologies.” Early forms of them include the automobile, cellphone and computer. As they have evolved over the years, so have our businesses. The ability to keep up with the production of these ever evolving technologies is essential to economic growth.
“If we don’t work on our workforce we will not be able to bring those kinds of businesses into Mississippi and create those jobs,” said Moon.
Moon is hopeful that the Trump administration will provide more clarity to regulations, costs, and other business matters than the previous administration has.
“What we have to look at, for Mississippi, is how competitive can we be? And if other states are doing it then we have to do it,” said Moon. “Now, responsibly of course. We have to look at how it is going to effect the Mississippian.”
Moon says understanding the benefit and monitoring the companies through claw-back provisions to ensure everyone is living up to their end of the bargain is necessary.
“We gave a lot of incentives to Nissan and I would think most people would agree that’s been a pretty good deal for Mississippi,” said Moon.
Mississippi is the first state in the country to submit and be approved for the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. This act allows federal money to be given to support workforce training programs.
“We’ve only got about 3 million people in the state, only about 1.2 million are working, we’ve got to get more folks working,” said Moon.