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House Bill May Open The Door To Significant Growth In Solar Power Generation In Mississippi

Report To The People
By Representative Tommy Reynolds

We are now into the ninth week of the 2023 Legislation. Last week’s major deadline was Wednesday as we voted to send appropriation or income bills to the Senate for their consideration. This week we are voting on Senate general bills, which must have been passed by Tuesday.

One of the important measures we approved by last week’s deadline was House Bill 871, which I authored and handled on the House Floor. The Bill may open the door to significant growth in solar power generation through the state. I am particularly happy that the project seeking to locate in Tallahatchie County could potentially benefit from the passage of House Bill 871.
Rather than providing loans, grants, or other means of up-front money for construction of these projects, we have determined that exempting a portion of property tax valuation over a prescribed period is the smartest approach to encouraging these facilities to locate in our state.

Other surrounding states have been more successful in attracting solar plants as they have been able to offer incentives which could not be offered in our state—costing us the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to the state. It is to everyone’s benefit that we secure the means of providing clean, renewable and sustainable power to our citizens. Local tax revenues will increase with the location of these facilities and any incentive granted is subject to approval of local elected officials of counties and cities seeking these facilities.

In Tallahatchie County, a nationally recognized energy production company is seeking to construct a solar energy facility that could employ up to 300 employees during construction, and, importantly, provide power to 15,000 – 20,000 households when finished. In all, the company seeking to install the facility will have invested over $100 million by the time the facility is operational. If the project is successful, the company projects the facility to be operational in about 15 months after construction is completed.

We expect other counties and population centers to offer the same incentives over time so that a broad swath of Mississippi can enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

I believe that for our state and area’s growth and development it is essential that we have a safe and reliable electrical and energy supply and that we must take all steps necessary to make this a reality.

In other action, we appropriated funds to the State Department of Health for opening a burn center at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jackson in House Bill 1721. As you may know, Mississippi lost its only burn center a few months ago, which is simply unacceptable. There was and is discussion that the center will be established at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, but at this time, the funds are appropriated to the Baptist System. I am grateful that victims of terrible, painful burn injuries will not have to travel out of state for treatment as soon as the burn center is operational.

I was pleased to learn on Sunday that Governor Reeves announced his support of Medicaid expansion for postpartum mothers from 60 days to 12 months. We should be offering this help, and I will certainly vote for it, if the House is allowed to vote on it. I see no reason why working mothers who have young children should be denied this benefit and never have.

If I can be of service to you, please call on me. My residence address is 1720 North Main, Water Valley, MS 38965 and my office address is P. O. Drawer 280, Charleston, MS 38921. My email address is tureynolds

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