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Seize Mississippi business opportunities

As I See It

Is it true that “experts” must come from somewhere other than where we happen to live? In my view, the answer is NO! How did this myth ever get started in the first place?

I wrestled with this phenomena early in my career as a CPA. It seems that professional advice purchased from out-of-towners was somehow better — they had access to tax-saving strategies that the rest of us didn’t. Funny, I don’t recall any of those secret strategies ever amounting to much.

Some Mississippians believe that getting good medical treatment or a superior education requires going out-of-state. That attitude survives notwithstanding the fact that Mississippi has world class medical facilities and institutions of higher learning and has produced world-renowned leaders in almost every field of endeavor.

Jackson is headquarters for several national telecommunications companies. We are constantly exposed to their ads. It came as a surprise to me that these Mississippi-based companies have generally chosen out-of-state advertising agencies to represent them. To add to this irony, some of our larger Mississippi-based advertising agencies represent major companies headquartered in other states. Go figure.

What difference does it make whether we do business with our fellow Mississippians or not? It makes a lot of difference and I suspect everyone reading this column understands the importance of circulating dollars in Mississippi rather than sending them out-of-state. Every decision to spend a dollar here or elsewhere impacts the economy.

The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce has recently initiated a program to promote doing business with home folks. “Make Mine Mississippi” is a logo identification project highlighting products that are 51% or more produced, processed or manufactured in Mississippi. I like this idea and encourage anyone who qualifies to register and begin using the logo. Dr. Spell and his team have shown real vision in devising this program. They understand the economic importance with doing business with Mississippians whenever possible. We should follow their lead.

Printing, postage and people (the three “Ps”) are the major expenses for a newspaper. Here at the MBJ we have always insisted that our printing be done in Mississippi. You may notice that most of the other Mississippi business publications bare a New Orleans bulk rate stamp. That is because they are printed in New Orleans.

Several weeks ago, a column in The New York Times blasted Mississippi unfairly. According to that columnist, we are the last remaining outpost of the dark ages. All of the changes which have occurred here over the last 30 or so years were totally ignored. Though that column only represented one persons opinion, it should remind us that many “foreigners” still hold a hostile attitude toward Mississippi. Such examples of ill-conceived, ill-informed, substandard, sensationalist journalism should encourage us to help ourselves economically.

Mississippi will continue to rise through our own efforts without the blessings of arrogant New Yorkers. Seizing opportunities to do business at home will help a lot.

THOUGHT FOR THE MOMENT

Do you know the origin or the term cotton “gin?” The answer will be revealed here next week.

Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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