The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 3/18/9

The House, without a dissenting vote, passed legislation Tuesday aimed at saving jobs in the ailing furniture industry.

The measure would provide a tax break to furniture manufacturers. Its approval came on the final day for the chamber to take it up.

On Monday, House Ways and Means Chairman Percy Watson, D-Hattiesburg, and Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, would not commit to taking up the legislation even after meeting with representatives of the Mississippi Furniture Association.

But on Tuesday, the House passed the legislation, although it made changes in the bill to ensure that it will end up in conference. There, key House and Senate members will continue to work on the proposal.

McCoy said he wanted to ensure the legislation fulfills its stated intent of saving and possibly creating jobs in Northeast Mississippi’s hard-hit furniture industry.

“This is not to give a tax break to an industry. We want this bill to do good for the overall state economy and to save and create jobs,” McCoy said. “We want to save what we have and create more.”