Medical Zones Touted by Bland Administration

Meridian, Miss. The Mississippi Legislature passed a bill in 2012 to implement health care industry zones. It basically gives new businesses building near hospitals special incentives to lure them there.

But Meridian doesn't have a plan to do it yet. Mayor Percy Bland says that needs to change. He says he's developing a plan to increase the quality of health care and the number of jobs in Meridian.

The Mississippi Healthcare Industry Zone Act provides incentives for health care-related companies to bring their business within a five-mile radius of our hospitals.

More than 15 cities have already submitted master plans to state officials. The deadline is drawing near. Mayor Bland says he thinks this law is perfect for a city with so many medical-hub businesses like Meridian.

"We're perfectly positioned with Meridian being a medical health care hub to provide incentives for not only the hospitals, but a lot of the other businesses that are medically-related businesses around our health care zone," said Bland.

Businesses that participate are offered the incentives of a 10-year state income tax depreciation deduction, a sales tax exemption for construction and equipment and materials purchased up to three months after the facility is completed, and property tax incentives that can be offered by cities and counties.