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Aegis Destroyer Dewey, built by Ingalls, plies the Gulf of Mexico as she completes a test voyage.

Ingalls to get $45 million capital infusion from state

By JACK WEATHERLY 

The Mississippi Legislature has continued a pattern of issuing general obligation bonds for Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, the state’s largest private employer.

Bonds totaling $45 million were approved by the Legislature in the session that ended this month as part of a $308 million package, which among other projects, calls for completion of two museums in Jackson scheduled to open for the state’s bicentennial in 2017 and projects at universities and community colleges.

Ingalls declined to specify what work would be done at is shipyard facility, other than to say in an email that the “investment will fund innovative shipyard upgrades that will allow Ingalls to remain competitive. Mississippi’s financial investment in this project, which Ingalls will match 2-1, will help maintain jobs and supplier opportunities in Pascagoula and across Mississippi for years to come.”

Of the 11,000 employed by Ingalls at Pascagoula, “8,000 have home addresses in 46 of Mississippi’s 82 counties,” the company said in the email. “Ingalls has spent $457 million with 250 suppliers in 22 counties in Mississippi over the past five years, and had an estimated $1 billion 2014 total annual economic impact on the state.”

Ingalls’ previous owner, Northrop Grumman Corp., matched 2-1 issues of $40 million in 2004, $56 million in 2005 and $56 million in 2008. The shipbuilding divisions of the corporation were spun off and formed a new publicly traded company in 2011, Huntington-Ingalls Inc., with headquarters in Newport News, Va. The new company likewise matched the $20 million state issue in 2015, according to company spokesman Bill Glenn.

State Treasurer Lynn Fitch has said the $308 million issue includes projects without details, for “paying costs associated with infrastructure and infrastructure related projects,’” Fitch wrote in a letter to legislative leaders.

House Bill 1729, which approved the issue, has no mention of Ingalls, but Fitch said in the letter that she intends “to request an individual resolution on each of the earmarks in HB 1729 so that each one can be individually examined and approved or disapproved on its own merits.”

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About Jack Weatherly

One comment

  1. I am hoping somebody knows the legal answer to how the State has the authority to give Ingalls, a private corporation, money, such as is mentioned in this article. Section 258 of the Constitution dealing with Credit of the State provides:
    ‘The credit of the State shall not be pledged or loaned in aid of any person, association, or corporation; and the State shall not become a stockholder in any corporation or association, nor assume, redeem, secure, or pay any indebtedness or pretended indebtedness alleged to be due by the State of Mississippi to any person, association, or corporation whatsoever, claiming the same as owners, holders, or assignees of any bond or bonds, now generally known as “Union Bank” bonds and “Planters Bank” bonds.’

    So can someone explain to me how these bond monies are not in violation of the Constitutional provision? I must be missing something.

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