The Mississippi Legislature will go into special session called by Gov. Tate Reeves for the second time in eight days to consider the approval of a major economic development project.
Reeves is asking legislators in a Thursday special session to approve an incentive package to lure a major company to build two “hyperscale data centers” in Madison County just north of the city of Jackson. Reeves said the sites will be seven miles and 20 miles from downtown Jackson.
The unnamed company, “one of the 20 largest in the world,” Reeves said, has committed to investing $10 billion in building the data centers and to employing 1,000 workers earning at least 125% of the average state wage. Reeves said the project would represent the single largest capital investment in state history — four times larger than the previous largest capital investment.
The governor said he could not announce the company until after the incentive package is passed. But online behemoth Amazon has been opening similar data centers in other regions of the country, and SuperTalk reported Tuesday that the company was Amazon Web Services. Reeves indicated the company chose Mississippi for this particular project that was planned for a location in the southeastern United States.
Reeves is asking state lawmakers to commit $44 million through appropriations, plus multiple tax breaks. Those tax incentives include a permanent exemption of sales and use taxes on equipment purchases, other temporary sales and use tax exemptions, and a 10-year exemption of corporate income taxes. The bulk of the $44 million appropriation — $32 million — will be for workforce training, with the rest directed for funds to get the project off the ground. The state also will provide a loan of $215 million primarily for sewer improvements and for other infrastructure work.
“The size of this new capital investment is unlike anything we’ve seen before in Mississippi,” Reeves said. “… The fact is that records were made to be broken, and that’s exactly what our state continues to do. This is a massive win for central Mississippi, the Jackson metro area, and all of Mississippi. It’s a great time to be a Mississippian.”
At a Wednesday news conference in his state office, Reeves was flanked by Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, House Speaker Jason White and other legislators as he announced that the special session will begin Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Last week, a one-day special session was held to provide state incentives of at least $350 million plus tax breaks to lure a project to manufacture batteries to power electric commercial vehicles to Marshall County near the Tennessee border.
While last week’s project passed overwhelmingly, some Democrats, who all voted for it, lamented the fact that no major economic development projects are being located in impoverished areas of the state, such as the Delta region and in southwest Mississippi.
Some lawmakers also said that more time was needed to study and to vet the projects and that special sessions were not needed to take up the projects since the Legislature already is in session.
Reeves has contended that efforts are being made to lure projects to all parts of the state. He also argued that most all major economic development projects have been taken up in special session where the focus can be placed on the project.
Reeves said there is a commitment to have the construction completed by 2027, but there would be at least 6,000 construction workers, not including employees for ancillary projects, during the construction phase.
One of the Madison County sites will be in Canton, near the existing Nissan plant, and the other will be just across County Line Road in southern Madison County just a short distance from Hinds County.
Facilities to provide the electricity, provided by Entergy, for the sites could be built not only in Hinds, but in other locations throughout the state, Reeves said.
Reeves touted that the green energy project approved last week would generate the largest payroll for a new project in state history and the one announced Wednesday is the largest single capital investment in state history. While both are significant, it is not uncommon for such records to be broken because of inflation, construction costs and other factors, though the investment in Madison County is particularly significant.
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