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Lawmakers pass $350 million deal to lure major green energy plant to north Mississippi

The Legislature wasted little time Thursday appropriating at least $350 million to entice a partnership of automakers and technology companies to locate a $1.9 billion green energy plant in Marshall County in north Mississippi.

The plant — a joint venture of Paccar Inc., Cummins Truck Holdings, and Germany-based Daimler Truck Holdings, and China-based Eve Energy — will build batteries to power electric commercial vehicles and possibly for industrial use. The names of the companies involved in the project were not unveiled until after the Legislature on Thursday passed the incentive deal.

Gov. Tate Reeves said the plant, which will located at the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park on a 500-acre site located near the Tennessee state line, would provide the largest payroll commitment ever offered for a new Mississippi project. The plant is slated to employ 2,000 people by 2031 with an average salary of $66,000, including supervisory level positions.

“I can’t imagine a better way to kick off the new year…” Reeves said. “This historic investment by these industry-leading companies will enshrine our state at the forefront of the automotive industry for years to come and create 2,000 good-paying jobs in the process. Today’s announcement further demonstrates to the world that Mississippi is a top destination for business.”

Only two senators and one House member voted against the project. While Democrats had complaints about the project, they all voted for it.


READ MOREIn 2023, Reeves limited state business with China. Today, he’s requesting state funds for a Chinese company.

The session began Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and was completed by mid-afternoon. House Speaker Jason White and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, who presides over the Senate, had worked out an agreement to move the legislation quickly through the process. Work will continue tomorrow in the regular 2024 season, though various sources indicate the governor will call another special session next week for an additional economic development project.

While debate was limited, Rep. Robert Johnson, a Democrat from Natchez who serves as House minority leader, unsuccessfully offered two amendments. One amendment would have mandated that 70% of the employees be Mississippians, and another that the companies involved in the project commit to support the local community. Johnson said that the community service requirement was placed on the casinos when they moved into the state in the 1990s.

Johnson called it “abhorrent” that there was not a mandate to require most of the workers to be Mississippians since state taxes were being spent to lure the plant to Mississippi.

The amendments failed, with most of the Democrats in the House voting for them and most Republicans, who enjoy a supermajority, voting against.

Sen. David Jordan, a Democrat from Greenwood, lamented that the project was being recruited to the state, but still nothing was being done to support the Mississippi Delta.

Senate Appropriations Chair Briggs Hopson, a Republican from Vicksburg, said studies indicate the project could draw employees from some Delta counties.

“We must do something for the people who live on the west side of I-55,” said Rep. John Hines, a Democrat from Greenville, referring to the Delta.

READ MORE: ‘They’re being totally ignored’: Lawmakers say Gov. Tate Reeves isn’t focusing economic development in majority-Black regions

Bill Cork, who recently was named as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority by Reeves, though his appointment is still pending Senate confirmation, said the “goal (for the companies building the plant) is to enter the zero emissions environment” for commercial vehicles.

The Legislature passed three bills with sparse debate to commit the at least $349 million for the project. Those funds will go into a variety of areas, such as for site preparation, jobs training and infrastructure, including a major interchange on the west side of the plant on U.S. Highway 72 with another likely in the coming years on the eastern side of the plant. The money will help purchase additional land, making the total site 1,700 acres. The additional land will be available for ancillary companies that might locate in the area to support, the battery plant.

The Legislature also passed $489 million in bonds to finance the project through multiple years, though the goal is to use surplus funds to pay for the project and not incur or limit the debt from having to issue bonds. In addition to the $349 million incentive package, the state also has committed to build an additional $127 million eastern interchange in future years if traffic from the new plant and any ancillary companies reaches a certain level.

The plant also will receive some local tax breaks as well as an exemption on corporate taxes for 10 years and on sales and use taxes during construction and for 12 months post construction.

The three primary companies partnering in the project — excluding the China-based company — have agreed to repay funds if certain benchmarks and commitments are not met.

The plant is slated to be in production by 2029 and have at least 2,000 employees by 2031.

READ MOREReeves asks lawmakers to appropriate $350 million in state funds to Marshall County EV battery deal


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