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:
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.
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.
Huntington Ingalls Shipyard
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.