Proposals to expand medical industry alive

By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON – Gov. Phil Bryant’s proposals that he said will help the state’s economy and improve the state’s health care system are being considered in the Mississippi Legislature.
On Monday, the state House passed legislation that would provide a state income tax break for 10 years in an attempt to attract physicians to locate in under-served areas.
Also, legislation has been filed, but has not yet been taken up, that would create health care zones where companies that make a $10 million investment or create at least 25 full-time jobs would be available for breaks, such as an exemption on sales tax on material and equipment associated with the investment.
“Health care is an industry of necessity,” Bryant said. “Our population is aging, so we know that more Mississippians will have the need for increased health services. We also know that the health care industry creates good paying jobs that Mississippians need.”
A news release from the governor’s office explained that “special incentives would encourage health-related business sectors like pharmaceutical research and development, biotechnology, medical product manufacturing and distribution, laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging to establish new operations” in areas close to hospitals with at least 375 acute care beds.
The business would have to locate within five miles of the hospital.
The area around North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo would qualify as a zone.
The tax break for doctors – on income above $100,000 annually for 10 years – would be to attract doctors primarily to rural, poor counties. But Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, expressed hope that as the legislation moves through the process it could be crafted to allow officials in areas like Tupelo to use the exemption.
bobby.harrison@journalinc.com