JACKSON, Miss.—Lawmakers at a swift Wednesday special session of the Mississippi Legislature took less than a day to approve an incentives package worth roughly $247 million for a planned aluminum mill in Northeast Mississippi. The company behind the mill is Steel Dynamics, Inc., which is based in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann celebrated the project in a press event in his office during the one-day special session. “A $2.5 billion dollar project doesn’t come to Mississippi very often, but you’ll see it coming more. The state is open for business,” he said.
On Monday, legislators seemed blindsided in conversations with the Mississippi Free Press, having had no prior of the proposed mill or the upcoming special session to approve its construction. But in Jackson on Nov. 2, many of the same lawmakers were convinced after meetings with legislative leadership on the plan’s details.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, told the Mississippi Free Press on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, that performance-based funding means the state will only continue to spend if the project is successful. AP Photo by Rogelio Solis
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, decided to support the project after a briefing with Hosemann. “There’s a place for people to be careful and cautious, and that’s what we’ve done,” he said Wednesday. “We’ve been briefed significantly on this, and it appears to be a phenomenal project for Mississippi.”
But the Senate Democratic Caucus excoriated the governor for calling a special session over economic development while neglecting legislative rapid action on Jackson’s water crisis and the growing threat of hospital closures across Mississippi, two issues that disproportionately harm Black Mississippians.
“We aren’t just looking at a strained system anymore,” said Senate Democratic Caucus Leader Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville, in the afternoon at the Capitol steps. “We’re looking at a full blown economic and a health care crisis in the state of Mississippi. We are no longer going to ignore it. By the governor and our Republican colleagues ignoring it, it will not go away.”
Hosemann: No More Money ‘Until It’s In The Ground’
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