Lawmakers give the green light to nearly $247 million in incentives for Lowndes County economic development project

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 7:18 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The special session to give incentives to a North Mississippi company is now a done deal. Lawmakers returned for less than 12 hours to approve the money for a project in Lowndes County.

Some secrecy accompanied the request to OK the nearly $247 million in incentives for what was referred to through most of the day as “Project Triple Crown.”

“They tell me I’m bound to secrecy, but they didn’t ever tell me the exact name of the company, myself,” said Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann just before lunch Wednesday. “We are very excited about this project. The two-and-a-half billion-dollar project doesn’t come to Mississippi very often, but you’ll see it come in more often. The state is open for business.”

But the 48-hour notice gave pause to others.

“We don’t know the company,” noted Rep. Dana Criswell with the Freedom Caucus. “If that company is telling us that this deal, they’re not coming if we don’t sign this deal now we need to walk away something’s wrong.”

It’s since been confirmed by the Governor that this is for an expansion of Steel Dynamics which currently operates in Columbus. This latest project will include a recycled aluminum flat-rolled mill and a biocarbon production facility.

“This is performance-driven,” noted Senate Finance Chairman Senator Josh Harkins. “So, once they have done the work they’ve done their part they’re getting the grants back to him so this is not a pay them and let’s hope that everything works out this is they have to produce and perform and then they get those

The Democratic Caucus didn’t push back on the project itself. But they do believe there were other pressing matters that should have been part of this special session.

“Since we last gathered as a legislature in this building, our state’s long ignored health care troubles have reached a crisis point and absolute state of emergency,” said House minority leader Rep. Robert Johnson.

The caucus said it would continue pressing the Governor to consider a special session to include hospital relief, Jackson water, and Medicaid expansion.

“Imagine how else we could have spent millions of dollars,” explained Senate minority leader Senator Derrick Simmons. “Imagine how many lives we could have saved. Imagine how many hospitals in jobs and livelihoods we could save with that money.”

The Governor responded to that by saying he wanted to focus on the positives of the day.

“With this record-breaking investment, Steel Dynamics is creating 1,000 high-quality, blue-collar jobs that pay more than double the current average salary of Mississippi. I want to thank Steel Dynamics, the Mississippi Legislature, the Mississippi Development Authority, Joe Max Higgins and Golden Triangle Development LINK, and everyone involved in this project whose diligent work was instrumental in securing this tremendous economic development win for the people of our great state. This historic project will have an unprecedented impact on the entire state of Mississippi and is a testimony to our state and its incredible workforce.” – Gov. Tate Reeves

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