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Adequate funding from Legislature is critical

Heidel optimistic about Mississippi`s future development efforts

The Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development is looking for more than $5 million more from legislators next year, including $80 million in unrestricted funds.

The $80 million should help lure four economic development projects totaling more than $1 billion.

“Given the nature of fierce competition among states for new and expanding businesses, and the dynamic nature of the global economy, we can never simply sit back and rest,” said Jimmy Heidel, executive director. “Our economic development tools must remain sharp and effective to meet the challenges which lie ahead.”

DECD is proposing a plan with $300 million in capital investment that will expedite attracting major industries. At least four major projects with capital investment of at least $400 million each are currently under active recruitment, said Buddy Bynum, director of public affairs for DECD.

“Our experience is that we can`t always know when a company will make a final decision on relocation, and we have to be prepared to act quickly whether the Legislature is in session or not,” said Bynum. “Mississippi lost a multi-million dollar Boeing rocket plant to Alabama because, when the time came for the company to make a decision, Alabama`s Legislature was in session and ours was not.”

DECD wants almost $155 million for fiscal year 2000, including an increase of $5.4 million in general funds and a $2.2 million decrease in special funds. The decrease is reflective of completion of most major renovations at the Tri-State Commerce Park in Iuka, Bynum said.

Some of the increases outlined in the report are:

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