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Mississippi Direct Financial Incentives 2011

Mississippi's economic development, finance, and tax organizations provide a range of incentive programs to initiate new business and commercial investment. Specific programs include Momentum Mississippi, Data Center Incentives, and an Energy Investment Program.

Area Development Online Research Desk (March 2011)
Momentum Mississippi programs:
Momentum Mississippi was adopted in 2005 to implement the recommendations of Blueprint Mississippi. In a collaborative effort that involved community and business leaders from around the state, the Blueprint Mississippi Steering Committee had recommended that the state build a long-range plan for economic development in the state and strengthen existing legislation to support that plan.

Among its first initiatives, the Momentum Mississippi Economic Development Taskforce created new economic development legislation. This legislation focused on economic development incentive programs, and it created new programs, modified existing programs, and provided for increased funding levels. The administration of these programs falls to the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), which also administers many other loan and grant programs designed to support growth and renewal across the state.

Programs under the auspices of Momentum Mississippi include:
• The Mississippi Existing Industry Productivity Loan Program is designed for making loans to existing manufacturing industries that have been operating in the state for at least two years and that meet minimum criteria established by MDA.

• The Mississippi Job Protection Act provides loans and grants to at-risk industries that have been operating in the state for at least three years and that have lost jobs or are at risk to lose jobs because such jobs have been outsourced.

• The Mississippi Research and Development Loan Program is designed for making loans to private companies to aid in the creation of new and expanding research and development, and to technology-based businesses and industries.

• The Advantage Jobs Incentive Program is a cash rebate program available for a period of up to 10 years. Qualified businesses that create and maintain minimum employment criteria must pay their employees an average wage at that location of at least 125 percent of the state or county wage, whichever is lower, to qualify for the program. The amount of the rebate will depend upon a cost/benefit analysis conducted by MDA.

Through the issuance of state bonds, counties or municipalities may receive grants under the Development Infrastructure Program to finance small infrastructure projects. Counties and municipalities are encouraged to use these grants in connection with other state and federal programs.

Other loan and grant programs:
In 2010, Governor Haley Barbour signed into law industry-specific incentives for companies in the clean energy manufacturing, data center, and aerospace industries, three sectors that have demonstrated the potential for significant growth in Mississippi in recent years. These industry-specific tax incentive programs supplement Mississippi's other incentives and may be combined with other state assistance programs.

The Mississippi Clean Energy Initiative program allows the Mississippi Development Authority to certify companies that manufacture systems or components used to generate clean, renewable or alternative energy, including nuclear, solar, wind, and hydro-generation. The program provides qualifying companies with a 10-year exemption from state income and franchise taxes, as well as a sales tax exemption to establish a plant or expand an existing production facility. To qualify, businesses must commit to invest a minimum of $50 million and create 250 full-time jobs.

Mississippi's Aerospace Initiative Incentives program provides tax incentives to companies that manufacture or assemble components for the aerospace industry or provide research, development or training services for the sector and are looking to locate or expand in the state. These incentives include a 10-year exemption from income and franchise taxes, as well as a sales and use tax exemption for the start-up of the facility. In order to qualify, companies must invest a minimum of $30 million and create at least 100 full-time jobs.

Mississippi's Data Center Incentives provide a state sales tax exemption for all computing equipment and software used by companies certified as data centers by the Mississippi Development Authority. Both new and replacement equipment qualify for the tax exemption. The certification requires a minimum investment of $50 million and the creation of at least 50 new jobs paying 150 percent of the average state wage.

The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 is federal legislation that was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2005. This legislation provides for federal tax incentives to areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma that were designated as warranting individual or public and individual assistance.

The Agribusiness Enterprise Loan Program is a loan program designed to encourage the extension of conventional financing and the issuance of letters of credit by private lending institutions to agribusiness enterprises in the state of Mississippi. Through this program, MDA provides interest-free loans to qualified agribusiness borrowers engaged in the production, manufacturing, and processing of agribusiness related goods and services.

The Mississippi Airport Revitalization Revolving Loan Program is designed for making loans to airport authorities for the construction and/or the improvement of airport facilities located in the state of Mississippi.

The Local Government Capital Improvements Revolving Loan Program is designed for making loans to counties or municipalities to finance capital improvements in Mississippi. Counties and municipalities are encouraged to use these loans in connection with state and federal programs. Funding for loans to applicants is derived from the issuance of state bonds.
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