The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 1/17/9

State incentives that were promised to Cooper Tire have made it through half of the legislative process.

The incentives were offered late last year by Mississippi officials to help keep the company’s Tupelo plant open.

The $13 million bond package passed the Senate on Friday without a dissenting vote, though some senators wondered whether the legislation was another corporate bailout.

The incentives, part of an overall $30 million offer that included local contributions, will be used to construct a city-owned building at Cooper’s Tupelo location to allow the company to increase capacity. They also will provide Cooper a $6 million no-interest loan to move equipment to the Tupelo plant from the Georgia plant it opted to close.

“Cooper Tire is a viable corporation with or without Northeast Mississippi,” said Sen. Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo. “The question is, what would Northeast Mississippi look like without Cooper Tire?”