The Mississippi Legislature has approved a $1.9 billion economic development plan Governor Tate Reeves is touting as the second-largest investment in state history.
During Thursday’s special session, lawmakers passed a handful of bills opening the door for an electric battery producer comprised of a partnership between four companies to set up shop at the Chickasaw Trails Industrial Park in Marshall County, despite concerns levied by some leaders.
Leading into the special session, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle aired grievances with the project. On the GOP side, some elected officials were troubled by the level of Chinese influence involved in the project. Democrats, on the other hand, felt like the project was being pushed through too quickly.
House Minority Leader Robert Johnson, who ultimately voted for the bills, did not believe the special session was necessary and argued that lawmakers ought to have been given more time to read through the 200-plus page legislation. Though a supporter of the new project, Johnson would like to see more economic development work in other portions of the state, such as the Delta, in dire need of a financial boost.
“I’m still reading the bill, but I want to applaud the Mississippi Development Authority and the governor for finding and making sure that we can secure these kinds of opportunities for the state of Mississippi,” Johnson said on MidDays with Gerard Gibert. “To quote the governor, he [says] he’s a governor for all of Mississippi. I would like to see economic development for all of Mississippi.”
Putting grievances aside, legislators decided to come together and pass SB 2001 and SB 2002 which appropriated funding for the economic development initiative colloquially dubbed Project Poppy, and HB 1, which essentially establishes the parameters for the project.
Project Poppy is expected to bring in 2,000 jobs with an average annual salary of approximately $66,000 — the largest annual payroll commitment of any major project Mississippi has ever seen, according to Reeves.
“It will further enshrine Mississippi as a national leader in the automotive industry. This deal is further proof of the good things that are happening in
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