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Eric Stavriotis, Senior Vice President, Strategic Consulting, Jones Lang LaSalle
Scott Redabaugh, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle
Dan Levine, Pricipal, MetroCompare LLC
Kathy Mussio, Managing Partner, Atlas Insight
Mississippi prides itself on helping businesses quickly navigate through its permitting processes. For example, the Department of Environmental Quality has a long track record of moving major projects through the permitting process very quickly. When Nissan decided to locate a new plant in Canton back in 2000, the permitting process was completed in 74 days. Permitting for another key employer in the state, Severstal, which included a one-million-square-foot campus on 1,400 acres, was completed in just 62 days.
A key priority for Mississippi going forward is improving its work force training programs - a necessity when trying to attract new businesses to the state and also when working with existing businesses on their expansion plans. "In the coming months, you will see us build on those strengths and improve those training programs that we have in place," says Christensen. That effort is an important part of Governor Bryant's Mississippi Works Agenda. The state will be working with community colleges and the Department of Employee Security among other partners to make sure that it has a very consistent work force development system in place.
In May, Governor Bryant signed legislation to further enhance the state's business climate. That legislation included four key components. One was the Healthcare Industry Zone Act, which is aimed at improving access to healthcare. Those healthcare providers that invest more than $10 million in a facility or create at least 25 full-time jobs within an established Health Care Zone are eligible for tax incentives. In addition, Mississippi passed legislation regarding the elimination of many of the inventory taxes, revisions to workers' compensation regulations, and the Small Business Regulatory Commission act.
"We're constantly improving on this business climate, and striving to make Mississippi even more business-friendly, while we continue to make sure that the needs are met for our new and existing businesses," says Christensen.