Has there been enough time? Have business, industry and legislative leaders had time to consider Gov. Ronnie Musgrove’s Advantage Mississippi Initiative? Have economic developers had time to consider the impact the plan might have on their communities? What about small business owners in small towns across Mississippi? What do they think of the governor’s plan, which has been touted as the method to move the state into the New Economy? What do folks on Main Street think about it all?
Last week, the legislation to set the Advantage Mississippi Initiative into motion was released and Musgrove, along with the state’s chief economic developer, J.C. Burns, and an entourage of plan proponents, held public meetings from Senatobia to Biloxi to find out what Mississippians think of this new development agenda.
There are a number of important changes, which will help move Mississippi to the next level of economic development:
• Streamlining the incentive process.
• Consolidating workforce training.
• Focusing on technology.
However, questions remain about the Advantage Mississippi Initiative:
• Who is going to pay for new programs and personnel?
• Will adequate funding and support be available?
• Will competing interests be able to cooperate?
As legislators gather in Jackson for the governor’s special session on economic development Aug. 28th, it is our hope that politics and self-interests will be left at home (which, we know, would be quite a feat for many of our legislators). The time has come for the Advantage Mississippi Initiative itself, the good and the bad, to move to the next level.