Barbour calls special session for jobs projects

JACKSON – The Legislature will convene in special session Friday morning to take up at least one – possibly two – economic development projects.
Gov. Haley Barbour announced Monday he is calling the special session for the yet-to-be-named economic development projects and promised more details Wednesday. It is expected the Legislature will be asked to issue bonds to entice the developments to locate in Mississippi.
“One project is coming to ripeness. Hopefully, it will be ripe by Friday,” Barbour said during a news conference. If not, Barbour said it could be dealt with during the 2012 session.
But the governor said both involved “large capital investments and significant employment gains.”
Various sources have indicated one project will be located in the Columbus area, and the one that is less firm for the Friday special session, might be for a project located near Columbia in south Mississippi.
Various legislators expressed support for a special session to deal with the possible creation of jobs, but questioned whether the Friday before the Labor Day weekend is the best time to do it.
Rep. Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville, said some members might have scheduled vacations that will have to be worked around.
But Ellis, the House majority leader, said “the House leadership will be there.”
Rep. Harvey Moss, D-Corinth, who is retiring at the end of the year, said “I don’t mind a special session if it is for something good.”
Barbour had said the Legislature could complete the special session in a day.
Moss said that is probably true, but said when dealing with millions in a bond issue, “you need to take the time to make sure you get it right. The cost of another day of a special session is not nearly as costly as making a mistake on a project costing millions of dollars to the taxpayers.”
The cost of the first day of a special session is about $51,000 with each following day costing about $35,000.
Barbour said the Legislature could not have taken the issues up during the regular session that ended in April because they had not been finalized.
The governor said he does not anticipate adding congressional redistricting to the special session agenda because there is no agreement on how to redraw the four congressional districts to match population shifts revealed during the 2010 census.
bobby.harrison@journalinc.com

Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal Jackson Bureau