Work continued at the Capitol for the 2007 Legislative Session. The deadline for Senate committees to review and report on all general House bills expired. We began the process of deliberating the House bills that passed to the floor from the Senate committees.
We have until March 7 to take action on all general House bills that are still active. In addition, we continue working on the state’s budget. March 13 marks the deadline for the Senate to act on House appropriations and revenue bills.
The big news of the week came with the announcement that the Toyota automotive company has chosen a 1,700-acre site just outside of Tupelo to construct its eighth North American vehicle assembly plant. This is a huge economic development opportunity for Mississippi.
The Senate, working with the Governor and the House of Representatives came to an agreement to pass a resolution to suspend the deadline for the drafting, introduction, consideration and passage of a bill to include the Toyota plant in the Mississippi Economic Impact Act. We were able to avoid the need for a special session because of this action. Early on Friday, landmark legislation passed both chambers unanimously giving the final green light for the Toyota project.
The legislation includes approximately $294 million in economic development incentives for infrastructure and site development, job training and other related purposes. The plant will break ground this spring and will begin production of the Highlander sport utility vehicle in 2010. Toyota will invest an initial $500 million, with a guarantee of 1,500 jobs before qualifying for any incentives from the State.
The entire project will amount to a $1.3 billion investment by Toyota and is expected to create approximately 2,000 initial jobs for the region. Beyond the investment and creation of initial jobs, the construction of this new Toyota plant will also indirectly lead to the development of work for thousands of additional Mississippians.
There also are plans to offer incentives to potential suppliers for the Toyota plant. In the end, numerous areas of our State stand to benefit from the jobs created by related industries. In recent years, Mississippi has emerged as a leader and capable work domain for the top defense, automotive and aerospace industries of our country. Acquiring the Toyota plant is further evidence to the growing attraction of doing business in Mississippi.
It is an honor to serve you in the State Senate. Please contact me if you ever have questions, comments or need assistance with the legislature or an agency of our state government.
I can be reached in Jackson by phone at 601-359-3770, email at email@example.com. or mail at PO Box 1018, Jackson, MS 39215-1018. My phone number in Oxford is 662-234-7070, email is firstname.lastname@example.org and mail is PO Box 1358, Oxford, MS 38655.