Mississippi Gains Momentum

With Nissan, Mississippi officials turned the South's
"Deal of the Year" in 2000. Pictured here is Carlos Ghosn,
president of Nissan (left) and Mississippi Gov. Ronnie
Musgrove at the company's announcement. Nissan is building
a $930 million, 4,000-employee automotive plant in Canton, Miss.

With a new governor and millions of dollars flowing into economic development across the state, Mississippi continues to gain momentum as a global competitor.

Governor Haley Barbour said he wants Mississippi to reach for new heights in economic development, and launched a long-range economic development plan called "Momentum Mississippi" to take the state there.

"I want to lift Mississippi's horizons and raise our expectations for ourselves as we compete in the world," said Gov. Barbour. "Our goal is to reach the top, so it was appropriate that we start here. With innovative ideas from the private and public sector, this economic development strategy will help Mississippi become a major player in the global marketplace."

The administration has already lowered the cost of doing business in Mississippi by holding the line on taxes and by passing what the Wall Street Journal called the most comprehensive tort reform legislation in America. The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also lauded the reform.

"Mississippi has managed to pull itself out of the negative spotlight through resolve of voters and elected officials in the executive, legislative and judicial branches," said ATRA president Sherman Joyce. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue said, "This is an important victory for the people of Mississippi."

It is also an important victory for companies seeking to do business in Mississippi. Since Governor Barbour took office with his reforming spirit, the state has seen new investments from companies like Winchester Ammunition, located in Lafayette with a $3.5 million payroll. Clorox subsidiary Kingsford Charcoal invested $20 million in Glen. Noramec Call Center Services located in Greenwood. Faurecia chose Cleveland for its new $12 million plant.

"This new plant represents an exciting growth opportunity for Faurecia and we are pleased to share it with the people of Cleveland and Bolivar County," said Mike Kamsickas, vice president of Faurecia's Metal Business Unit. "The welcome we have received in the Delta has been extraordinary."

Mississippi's available workforce, incentive and training programs, solid infrastructure and low cost of living have benefited all types of industries. Their success stories can be witnessed throughout the state and across sectors. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Lockheed Martin, La-Z-Boy Furniture Company, Future Pipe Industries, Ashley Furniture, Whirlpool and Alcoa are also among the growing list of companies that have invested millions in a state that just keeps getting more attractive.

Mississippi also has clear infrastructure advantages. Its highway system is the best in the South and fourth best among the 50 states. On top of that, the state is implementing a $1.5 billion highway expansion to improve its roads. Add in outstanding coastal ports and rail lines, and you begin to see some of the reasons the automotive industry finds Mississippi so compelling.

The state also boasts 15 community colleges, 12 private and eight public universities and its Employment Training Division helps prepare the 1.3-plus-member workforce for the specific needs of industry. Financial assistance programs and a host of other business development incentives also keep Mississippi top of list for competitive manufacturers seeking a little southern hospitality.

To find out more about Mississippi, contact Scott Hamilton, Mississippi Development Authority by phone at (601) 359-3555 or email shamilton@mississippi.org or go to www.mississippi.org.