By Roneshia Thomas
From the March/April 2023 Issue
The economy in Mississippi has been bouncing back steadily since the COVID pandemic. Governor Tate Reeves and the Mississippi Legislature finalized the largest economic development project in state history with Steel Dynamics, Inc. In November 2022, the steel company announced $2.5 billion in capital investment creating 1,000 jobs with a $93,000 average salary.
Steel Dynamics is building a state-of-the-art low-carbon, aluminum flat-rolled mill and a biocarbon production facility in Columbus, MS. The $1.9 billion recycled aluminum flat rolled mill is expected to start construction this year with an expected completion in 2025. The company is expanding its existing Columbus campus located on a Tennessee Valley Authority Megasite, by building two new facilities in the Golden Triangle Industrial Park.
“With this record-breaking investment, Steel Dynamics is creating 1,000 high-quality, blue-collar jobs that pay more than double the current average salary of Mississippi,” said Gov. Reeves. “I want to thank Steel Dynamics, the Mississippi Legislature, the Mississippi Development Authority, Joe Max Higgins and Golden Triangle Development LINK, and everyone involved in this project whose diligent work was instrumental in securing this tremendous economic development win for the people of our great state.
This historic project will have an unprecedented impact on the entire state of Mississippi and is a testimony to our state and its incredible workforce.”
Additionally, Steel Dynamics’ joint venture SDI Biocarbon Solutions, LLC will build a biocarbon production facility. Construction of the biocarbon production facility began in 2022 and is slated for completion in 2023.
This significant announcement came on the heels of a $51 million capital investment from ArbaBlox for a pallet blocks manufacturing plant. At its Winona operation, the company will build composite wood pallets for all industries. This venture will establish the first pallet block facility for ArbaBlox.
After the historic investment from Steel Dynamics, there have been other manufacturing announcements from Shloop and Homestead Furniture. Shloop, a footwear manufacturer, will invest $9 million to open a sustainable manufacturing facility in Meridian. Homestead Furniture pledged $2 million, in addition to over 100 jobs, to open a furniture manufacturing plant in New Albany.
“We couldn’t be happier to be located in Union County. The support we’ve received from the state of Mississippi, Three Rivers Planning and Development District, and Union County has been tremendous. We, along with our retail partners, think the time is right for a change in our industry,” said Harry “G” Lipscomb, CEO, Homestead Furniture.
Hinds County has also welcomed a big investment from Berk Industries. Berk Industries will expand operations to Jackson, MS, taking advatage of the location’s logistics and distribution potential. The company specializes in distributing wholesale food service disposables, such as plastic cutlery and paper cups.
“Thanks to Berk Enterprises, Hinds County is on its way to becoming a stronger center for logistics and distribution,” said Tamika Jenkins, the Executive Director of the Hinds County Economic Development Authority.
“When thinking about expanding our operations, Jackson, Mississippi just made sense. Geographically it was the perfect place to best service our customers in the Southeast. We recognized it is a growing distribution hub and we are very excited to be in Jackson” said Berk Enterprises CEO Reilly Berk.
Berk’s new facility opened in November and is located in the Northwest Industrial Park, which sits on 350 acres of land.
Streamlined Tax Credits With MFLEX
An incentive the state offers is The Mississippi Flexible Tax Incentive (MFLEX), which is a streamlined universal tax credit that may be used to offset a company’s Mississippi state tax liabilities. Signed into law by Gov. Reeves in April 2022, MFLEX is a program designed to meet the needs of new and existing businesses and increase the flexibility.
Due to the simplicity of the process, this program erases the need to have multiple applications for multiple incentive programs. The application process starts at the Mississippi Development Authority office and is open to any business looking to start or expand its operations in the state. With this program, the planned capital investment must exceed $2.5 million and a company must create more than 10 full-time jobs. Companies can use this credit against several tax liabilities. The goal is to allow the greatest flexibility for each industry to meet personalized needs.
Eligible industries include: manufacturers, warehouse and/or distribution businesses, research & development facilities, regional or national headquarters, air transportation and/or maintenance facilities, data & information processing centers, technology-intensive enterprises, telecommunications enterprises, and data centers.
To ensure companies are getting the proper workforce to power companies using the MFLEX incentive, the state also offers the Skills Training Income Tax Credit.
These tax incentives are credits that can be applied to state income tax to reduce an employer’s income tax liability. With incentives supporting business and workforce development, Mississippi, is striving to expand across all of its industries.