Leaders Weigh in on Economic Plan

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

An agreement for Mississippi and Alabama to join forces for mutual benefit came up at the Council of Governments Monday.

State Rep. Greg Snowden and Meridian Councilmen, Dr. George Thomas and Jesse Palmer, endorsed the plan.

"I think it's the most exciting economic development potential that I have been aware of that I can remember," said Snowden.

"(The) concept is excellent if we can make it work.," said Thomas. "It gives some potential to bring some business to the eastern part of Mississippi that we've not gotten before."

"To me it seems as if both have a certain appeal," said Palmer. "Mississippi has a certain appeal and Alabama. Joining hands in it, it seems like, would give a better chance of getting something done."

But Marion Mayor Malcolm Threatt said the details could be difficult.

"I'm sure there would be some problems before that perhaps could be worked out," Threatt said.

One of those details might be ad valorem taxes if a building is constructed on the Mississippi side of the state line.

"We are charged by law to assess property in Lauderdale County without regard to Alabama, Kemper County or Clarke County or Newton County," said Jimmy Slay, tax assessor for Lauderdale County. "So we have to assess the property in Lauderdale County as Lauderdale County property without regard to that."

But Rep. Snowden said the Alabama and Mississippi Legislatures would work out the fine points.

"You would want an industry, I would think, to have the flexibility to put its building wherever it wanted its building," said Snowden. "And if the state line happened to run through the middle of the building, you know, who cares? Or if the parking's in one state and the building's in the other, who cares?"

Snowden said he is positive the two states would cooperate with each other.


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