IN AN environment of tight budgets, does it make sense for Mississippi to hand out more corporate incentives at this time?
We believe it does, and that legislators acted wisely in authorizing about $175 million in incentives packages Friday during the one-day special session.
The incentives, proposed by Gov. Haley Barbour, can generate real economic development, in the form of almost 1,800 jobs, at a time when the state’s unemployment rate is in the double digits. In July, the statewide rate stood at 11.1 percent.
In addition, the Legislature extended a tax-rebate incentive program in an effort to spur 3,000 new jobs at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.
Naysayers are sure to point out the high cost of the new incentives — $75 million for Calisolar of Sunnyvale, Calif., and $100 million for HCL CleanTech of Oxford, N.C., and Israel. But look at what Mississippi could gain:
Calisolar could come to Columbus, where it would produce silicon to be used in the automotive, energy, electronics and consumer industries. The operation would create 951 direct full-time jobs.