Anticipation has been building through the summer as Mississippi’s business and legislative leaders await word from Gov. Ronnie Musgrove on his plans for a special session on economic development.
The governor, as he often is on potentially divisive issues, has been vague and few details on what he has in mind for the state’s development strategy have been forthcoming. Just last week Musgrove said that our system of attracting new jobs and building upon the existing business foundation was old. Worn out. At the Mississippi Economic Council’s annual meeting in May, the governor said that it had grown stale.
Perhaps in the coming weeks we’ll know what it is exactly the governor is thinking. In the meantime, there are a number of factions gearing up to scrutinize whatever it is Musgrove would like to implement:
• the Mississippi Partnership for Economic Development and Mississippi Technology Inc.;
• the Department of Economic and Community Development;
• groups like the Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi Economic Developers Council, along with local chambers of commerce and industrial authorities;
• the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, the Associated General Contractors of Mississippi and other pro-business organizations;
• labor unions and trial lawyers;
• high-tech firms and Mama-and-Daddy stores on Main Street;
• the “economically marginalized.”
And on it goes. Will the governor’s new plan for economic development satisfy all of these folks? Don’t count on it. And if Musgrove, always the consensus-builder, does unveil a plan to be all things to all people, it will be doomed to failure.
One thing is certain: While the governor and his team make up their minds, Mississippi business and industry will be hard at work — working. We’ve already figured out a few things about economic development ourselves.