Archive for December, 2008

Mississippi Economic Development News 12.29.08

December 29, 2008 Leave a comment

Mississippi Economic Development News, December 29, 2008

Tupelo center receives Rucker Award

New home for FBI – Federal facility will join Entergy and state Department of Employment Security.  Benjie Barham, director of business development with the Hinds County Economic Development District said… 

MDA Executive Director Gray Swoope spoke to the nation regarding the plant’s delay on Fox Business’ “Money for Breakfast” series on December 17. To view the video, click here

New housing construction will boost Mississippi’s lagging economy, says Housing Mississippi, an alliance of low-income housing advocacy groups. The organization plans to stimulate building projects through a housing trust fund specifically targeted to assist low-income Mississippi households (those making $29,000 or less annually).

(Jackson) is planning to push for the right to levy a 1 percent sales tax on most goods and services. Officials expect the tax would bring in between $21 million and $25 million a year for use on infrastructure improvements, law enforcement and economic development.

(State Superintendent of Education Dr. Hank Bounds) needs the help of every person in Mississippi who believes in the value of education and understands the role education plays in the economic and social development of our state.

Changes in casino industry, future projects discussed.

The Vicksburg Municipal Airport on U.S. 61 South will have another $524,000 to invest in upgrades via a federal grant accepted by the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen Wednesday.

Ten months after two tornadoes ripped through Lafayette County, destroying dozens of homes and businesses, there’s barely a bent tree limb left laying on the ground to mark its devastation.

The city of McComb will ask lawmakers in January to renew its 4-year-old hotel/motel tax.  Dozens of Mississippi communities levy taxes of up to 3 percent, tied to local economic development and promotional projects. Each affects only one community and is added to the 7 percent statewide sales tax collected by merchants.

The Site Selection Checklist: Prepare Your Approach (from Area Development magazine)

Have a safe and happy New Year!

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council, Inc. (MEDC)
P. O. Box 3721 . Jackson . MS . 39207 . 601-352-1909 .
2009 Winter Conference . Feb. 4-6 . Hilton . Jackson (register now!)
2009 Summer Conference . July 21-23 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi





December 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Mississippi Economic Development News – December 22, 2008


MDA awards $166,000 in grants to communities


After three years as the Natchez-Adams Economic Development Authority’s Executive Director, Jeff Rowell is leaving Natchez.  Rowell has taken a position as President and CEO of …


Film production office opens in Philadelphia.  New independent film that will be shot, in part, in local area…remake of “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde,” which will include scenes shot this spring in downtown.


With the recent loss of manufacturing jobs in Greenwood and in other parts of Mississippi, economic development and political leaders are weighing what the response should be. There are generally two schools of thought.


Despite bad economy, some good news comes.


Mississippi Power Co. plans to build a $2 billion power plant in Kemper County.


Gautier is the only city in Jackson County showing an increase in sales tax revenue and beating a downward trend locally and in the state, according to the latest report from the Mississippi State Tax Commission.


Even as Northeast Mississippi gets over the disappointment of having to wait for Toyota’s Blue Springs plant to open with its 2,000 jobs, along with thousands of other supplier-related jobs, economic development leaders say their plans haven’t changed. A prime example of that would be David Rumbarger’s role last week.


Tishomingo County officials hope to beat back an attempt next year to take away more than $3 million in Tennessee Valley Authority funds from their local governments.


George Freeland, director of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation, called Mississippi Gasification a “serious candidate” for the property.


The economic Civil War – The South’s attempt to kill the North’s auto industry is the latest battle in an ongoing conflict. (Opinion)



Petal Band in Inauguration Parade

December 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Petal Band to Represent Mississippi in Presidential Inauguration Parade

A special note from Deborah Reynolds, President of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce:
(any replies should be sent to )

The Petal Band has been invited to represent Mississippi in the Presidential Inauguration Parade on January 20. They are the only group invited from Mississippi.  The total cost for this trip will be about $75,000.  Unaware of this invitation at the time, the band depleted their funds when they performed in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia.  This is a historical moment in our country and an honor for our state to have one of a few chosen to attend. Out of 1,385 entries, only 60 were chosen to appear in the parade.  I would like to see the state economic entities embrace and support this trip. This will be an event shown around the world.  The band has 165 members and five staff.  These kids will represent Mississippi with the highest dignity.  They are a very disciplined group.  Any help would be great. They will leave on Sunday and return on Wednesday. 

Contributions may be made to the Petal Band account at any BancorpSouth Bank, to Petal High School, or they may be sent to my office at the address below. Make checks payable to Petal Band.

Thank you very much!

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and watch for Mississippi’s own Petal Band in the Presidential Inauguration Parade on January 20!

Deborah Reynolds, IOM
Petal Area Chamber of Commerce
P. O. Box 421
712-B South Main Street
Petal, MS 39465
Ph: 601-583-3306
Fax: 601-583-3312






December 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Mississippi Economic Development News – December 15, 2008



A former Hinds County administrator and top state economic development leader died Friday at his home.  Eugene McLemore was 66.


Area legislatures addressed budget issues during the Mississippi Economic Development Council’s regional legislative forum held here at the historic train depot recently.



Jeff Lacey Named as President of M&F Bank.  He was Past President of the Kosciusko Attala Chamber of Commerce and the Past Chairman of the Kosciusko Attala County Economic Development Authority.


Utah has offered nearly $33 million to Alliant Techsystems — its second-largest incentive package ever . … The company is weighing competing incentive offers from Utah, Mississippi, Ohio and the Carolinas and expects to make an announcement of where it will build its plant within a few months


Louisiana’s Department of Economic Development is investing $635,000 in a consultant’s study aimed at helping the state draw more automotive manufacturing.


Third District Congressman-elect Gregg Harper announced the members of his congressional staff for his Washington, D.C. office and District offices in Mississippi.


The MFA (Mississippi Furniture Association) has in recent months met with state officials, including the Mississippi Development Authority, state legislators and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant to talk about incentives the group says would bring back jobs to the state.


“…all eyes are on the five (Meridian City) council members who will make what is a huge decision for Meridian. If the council nixes Threefoot, the equally controversial Lala downtown hotel is expected to go in its place.


Recession-proof Rankin? – “There are no new projects that have come along recently,” said Larry Mobley, Rankin First Economic Development Authority’s assistant director. “I guess you could say we have been maintaining the status quo.”


Horn Lake officials launch anti-blight campaign.  Jim Flanagan, president and chief executive officer of the DeSoto County Economic Development Council, said, “Horn Lake has turned a corner. There’s far more industrial and commercial interest in the city than there has been in the past.”


Former Choctaw Tribal Chief Phillip M. Martin has signed a contract with a Brandon firm to publish his life story in time for the Choctaw Indian Fair in 2009.


December 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Mississippi Economic Development News – Week of December 8, 2008

Six Southern states – Mississippi included – have marketing programs identifying some of their less populated counties, cities or towns as “certified retirement communities.”    

Riverbend development falls off the drawing board; Postponed by economic ills but officials optimistic 

(Gov. Haley Barbour) said he and Mississippi Development Authority employees met with a company in Germany. He wouldn’t say the name of the company or what type of jobs.

Education was the keyword of the Mississippi Economic Council’s Marathon Tour session at the Southern Oaks in Hattiesburg this afternoon.

An emerging coalition of government, industry and environmental representatives has announced a new national agenda that outlines steps to fight erosion and encourage oil and gas development in the Gulf coast region.  They call it “America’s Energy Coast.” Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are the focus.

The October report on unemployment from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security showed Lamar County ranked third in the state among lowest unemployment rates with 4.8 percent. Rankin County has the lowest rate, 4.4 percent. Forrest County was ranked 11th with 5.9 percent.  In fact, Mississippi’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in October compared to the previous month, the MDES reported, from a seasonally adjusted 7.8 percent in September to 7.2 percent in October.

DeSoto Economic Development Council president Jim Flanagan said other tornado-damaged warehouses located in the city’s industrial area near the intersection of Stateline Road and Airways Boulevard have also recovered from the storms (last February).

Free work force training to be offered – The Mississippi Corridor Consortium – comprising East Mississippi Community College, Itawamba Community College, Northeast Mississippi Community College and Northwest Mississippi Community College – rolled out a new training program to meet the needs of existing industry.

Carol Hardwick, Executive Director

Mississippi Economic Development Council, Inc. (MEDC)

P. O. Box 3721 . Jackson . MS . 39207 . 601-352-1909 .

2009 Winter Conference . Feb. 4-6 . Hilton . Jackson

2009 Summer Conference . July 21-23 . Beau Rivage . Biloxi


December 19, 2008 Leave a comment



TUPELO – What’s it worth to keep 1,200 jobs? For Tupelo and the state of Mississippi, more than $30 million in financial incentives and other programs.  On Monday, state and local economic development officials submitted their proposal to Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. officials in the company’s headquarters in Findlay, Ohio. 


EUPORA – The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration granted nearly $500,000 in economic development funds that will benefit 13 counties in Mississippi’s 1st District, Congressman Travis Childers announced Friday. 


Mississippi’s two-year colleges rank fourth in the country.


JACKSON – State not good for business? Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, believes BHI likely geared the study toward factors that made Massachusetts No. 1 in this year’s study. “Businesses are moving south because of the operational business climates,” Swoope said. “When you see Alabama and Mississippi rank at the bottom of the list, to my eyes, I’m suspect of it.” 


STARKVILLE – Effort under way to develop technology business in region.


BILOXI – Lt. Governor Phil Bryant also told Rotarians to expect an economic development announcement soon involving USM. “Polymer science school is going to be involved in a great, dynamic economic development opportunity with General Electric. They want them to actually create a new product.”


ACKERMAN – The Choctaw County Economic Development Foundation has begun its 2009 membership drive. While the Foundation has a solid base of loyal, dedicated members, it is seeking to expand its membership in order to become a stronger organization able to give back more to the community.


LELAND SPEED OPTIMISTIC – … points out that the three pillars of the Jackson economy are health care, government and education. “You can’t find more recession proof legs to put on a stool.”  Health care spending will double over the next 10 years. The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC) is 10 percent of the entire Jackson economy, employing 8,000.