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Mississippi taxpayers footed heavy bill for incentives to corporations

By   /   December 27, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

Photo illustration by Steve Wilson

CORNUCOPIA: Mississippi took on $250 million in debt to fund various projects, including $45 million for the Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula.


Christmas is the season for giving and Mississippi taxpayers, thanks to the Legislature, were extraordinarily generous in 2016 to companies seeking to relocate to the state and those already doing business here. Here are the three biggest gifts from taxpayers to companies:

Photo by Steve Wilson

ROLLING: Gov. Phil Bryant’s official vehicle is rolling on Continental tires after the announcement of an economic development deal to bring the tiremaker to the state.

Continental Tire

Mississippi taxpayers will go $263 million into debt to help Continental Tire build a plant in western Hinds County. The bill to fund the tire plant was passed in a five-hour special session of the Legislature and signed by Gov. Phil Bryant in February. The company wasn’t named during the limited debate, but it did have a code name: Project Potter.

In addition to the bond money, the company will receive a 25-year income tax exemption and breaks on both local property taxes and the state’s corporate franchise tax. Continental’s corporate franchise tax will be capped at $25,000 per year. The franchise tax is levied at a rate of $2.50 per $1,000 of capital or property, whichever is greater.

RELATED: Taxpayers to pick up part of tab for construction of tire plant, shipyard

 Photo illustration by Steve Wilson

SHELL GAME: Edison Chouest Offshore closed one shipyard and received state and federal funds to build another after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Could the same happen in Mississippi after it received $36 million in state and federal funds to buy a Huntington Ingalls facility in Gulfport?

Edison Chouest Offshore

The Louisiana-based shipbuilder was the other part of the February special session with Continental Tire, receiving $36 million from the same bond issue to help it buy and convert a former Huntington Ingalls facility in Gulfport into a shipyard. It already has a shipyard located just a quarter-mile away that also received state help. ECO’s shipyard is supposed to create 1,000 new jobs.

RELATED: Mississippi could be headed for rough seas with shipbuilder subsidy

Huntington Ingalls Shipyard

Photo by Huntingdon Ingalls

ANCHORS AWEIGH: The US Navy destroyer USS John Finn launched in 2015 at Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula.

Mississippi taxpayers provided Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula with a $45 million subsidy. The shipyard, which builds destroyers and amphibious warfare ships for the U.S. Navy, received a $1.4 billion contract to build a new amphibious ship. That’s in addition to the backlog of $22 billion in contracts at Pascagoula and the company’s yard in Newport News, Va., which builds and repairs nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines.

This isn’t the first time the shipyard has received state tax dollars. The shipyard received $20 million last year from state taxpayers, $56 million in 2008, $56 million in 2005 and $40 million in 2004.

RELATED: Ingalls Shipbuilding to receive $45 million from state taxpayers

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Steve Wilson is the Mississippi reporter for Watchdog.org. Beginning his career as a sports writer, he has worked for the Mobile Press-Register (Ala.), the LaGrange Daily News (Ga.), Highlands Today (Fla.),McComb Enterprise-Journal (Miss.), the Biloxi Sun Herald(Miss.) and the Vicksburg Post (Miss.) Steve's work has appeared on Fox News, the Huffington Post and the Daily Signal. His bachelor's degree is in journalism with a minor in political science from the University of Alabama. Steve is also a member of the Mississippi Press Association and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He served four-plus years in the United States Coast Guard after his high school graduation and is a native of Mobile, Ala.