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Mississippi Direct Financial Incentives 2012

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.

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 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 110 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 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.

The Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) helps communities realize their potential by providing funds necessary to ensure decent housing, basic community services, environmental quality, and economic opportunities for their residents. The program makes funds available to incorporated municipalities and county governments that show a genuine need for specific community and economic development projects and can meet the program's state and federal eligibility requirements.

The Economic Development Highway Act assists political subdivisions with highway projects that encourage private companies to engage in high economic benefit projects within their area. This program promotes industrial and other significant development in the state of Mississippi through the construction and/or improvement of highways in areas that demonstrate actual and immediate potential for the creation or expansion of major industries or other significant development.

The Mississippi Energy Investment Program is designed for making loans to qualified borrowers to promote development and demonstration of efficient, environmentally acceptable, and commercially feasible technologies, techniques, and processes while effectively utilizing the state's existing alternative and conventional energy resources to foster economic and social growth.

The Mississippi Business Enterprise Loan Program combines state and private lending sources to assist new and existing minority businesses in gaining access to needed capital in the form of direct low-interest loans.

The Mississippi Minority Surety Bond Guaranty Program strives to increase minority participation in construction and building trades contracts with federal, state, and local units of government and their subsidiaries.

The Mississippi Business Investment Act Program is designed for making grants and/or loans to counties or incorporated cities or towns, acting individually or jointly, in order to finance authorized improvements for projects necessary to complement investments by private companies, which will increase domestic and international commerce and create and maintain new full-time jobs in the state of Mississippi.

The Mississippi Capital Access Program is designed to increase the availability of financing for borrowers who for various reasons might have difficulty in obtaining conventional loans. The essential element of the program is a reserve account established at a financial institution as a credit enhancement to induce the financial institution to make a loan.

The Mississippi Industrial Access Road Program is designed to encourage and promote industrial growth by providing access roads to industrial developments. Under this program, local entities receive assistance in the construction of links of highways or roads necessary to connect new and existing industrial sites to adequate road facilities.

The Mississippi Port Revitalization Revolving Loan Program is designed for making loans to state, county, or municipal port authorities for the improvement of port facilities to promote commerce and economic growth in the state of Mississippi.

The Growth and Prosperity Act (GAP) gives MDA the authority to approve eligible businesses for the following tax exemptions: any approved business facility that locates in a GAP designated area is exempt from state income and franchise taxes as well as certain local/property taxes for 10 years.

The Mississippi Rural Impact Fund Program is designed to assist and promote businesses and economic development in rural areas by providing grants and loans to rural communities (local entities) and loan guarantees to rural businesses.

The Mississippi Small Municipalities and Limited Population Counties Grant Program is designed for making grants to small municipalities and limited population counties or natural gas districts to finance projects to promote economic growth in the state.

Mississippi State Contact:
Skip Scaggs
Director of Global Investment and Retention
Mississippi Development Authority
P.O. Box 849
Jackson, MS 39205-0849
(601) 359-3449

Incentive and tax information is provided to Area Development by each state's economic development or commerce agency for information purposes only and is subject to revision at any time by the state government. Please contact the state agency directly for full requirements and offerings.

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