House bill 117 would take $2 million from the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Authority Tax Incentive Fund and use it as seed money to create the job training fund. The MMEIA fund was established as part of the incentive package for Toyota to come to Blue Springs. The measure would also divert a monthly sum of $150,000 in sales tax revenue from MMEIA to the job training fund.
Businesses eligible to receive money from the fund would also have to be eligible for Mississippi’s jobs credit, though they could not receive both.
Eligibility for the jobs tax credit varies depending on what county a business is headquartered. Businesses in Tier 1 counties, considered the most developed, have to create and maintain 20 jobs to qualify for the credit; in Tier 2 counties, that number falls to 15; and in Tier 3, the threshold is 10 jobs.
Mississippi Development Authority spokesperson Sally Williams said the job training would be performed by the state’s existing network of providers, including WIN job centers, community colleges and four-year colleges and universities. She said the programs could be tailored to meet specific needs of the qualifying company.
Williams said Mississippi already offers an expansive list of workforce training services for larger, global businesses – like Toyota and Nissan – that have come to the state.
“But training offerings are increasingly critical in the competitive world of economic development, and workforce development programs are a key criteria for businesses deciding where to locate or expand,” Williams wrote in an email. “We as a state are pursuing solutions that help us continue to meet the needs of both current and prospective businesses and that ensure we are as competitive as possible for new jobs and investment. “
The bill sat in the Senate Finance Committee, and had not made it to the Senate floor as of last Wednesday. It faces a March 5 deadline to either make it out of the committee, or die.