Op-Ed: The shared fortunes of Jackson and its suburbs

Since 2011, a fight has been brewing in the state capitol over where the Department of Revenue (DOR) and its 500 plus workers are going to relocate. In one corner is Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, and in the other is Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, R-Clinton.

Sen. Blount represents those who want to house the DOR in the 385,200 square-foot Landmark Center located in downtown Jackson in an effort to consolidate state agencies into one building. Two independent studies — one produced in 2011 by Cushman and Wakefield and and the other in 2013 by Millsaps College’s Else School of Management — prove that moving the DOR into the former regional headquarters of AT&T will save taxpayers millions of dollars compared to all other viable options. Based on this evidence, three influential, Mississippi businessmen — Jim Barksdale, John Palmer, and Leland Speed — publicly sided with Sen. Blount in the Clarion Ledger on Feb. 19, 2013.

In the opposing corner, Speaker Gunn advocates moving the DOR into the old WorldCom building in Clinton. His rationale is not financially based; rather, it is politically motivated. “I haven’t seen (Blount’s) plan or details … But I represent the people of Clinton, and they sent me here to look out for their interests. We believe it’s in the best interests of my constituents for it to be in Clinton, for those jobs to stay in the area,” Gunn said Feb. 4, 2013.

Mississippi Business Journal
2/22/13