An additional qualifier is a new hospital costing $250 million or more finished by 2017.
The law will create a five-mile radius around qualifying medical centers, with special tax incentives for investments of at least $10 million and 25 permanent, full-time jobs.
The facilities directory maintained by the Mississippi State Board of Health lists nine counties above or near the 375-bed threshold: Lee, Hinds, DeSoto, Jackson, Harrison, Lauderdale, Rankin, and Lowndes, plus Lafayette where a new $250 million hospital will be built.
The law would add strength-to-strength. Mississippi hospitals already have a $12 billion impact, and an average salary of $42,193, above the Mississippi average of $33,185.
The 115 hospitals in the state, the Mississippi Hospital Association’s studies reflect, employ about 60,000 people.
Almost every economic development organization and agency in Mississippi and most legislators supported the new act.
Through the legislation, counties that have hospitals and a qualifying certificate of need can be designated a Health Care Zone by the Mississippi Department of Economic Development. Bryant visited Houston before his inauguration to see the results of a similar Texas law.
Special incentives would encourage health-related business sectors like pharmaceutical research and development, biotechnology, product manufacturing, land diagnostic imaging, among others, the governor’s office said in a release.
The incentives include:
• Accelerated state income tax depreciation deduction to encourage development by allowing companies to reduce taxable income after initial development.
• A property tax fee in lieu of taxes for 10 years.
• Property tax exemption for 10 years. Bryant said he will seek a physician recruitment bill as a companion to the zone legislation.
It also would strengthen Mississippi’s attractiveness for what Bryant terms a “necessary” industry – certainly one that promises to grow as the population ages.
CORRECTION: Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford made an error in his column published Monday. Aubrey Lucas served as interim IHL chief when Tom Meredith, not David Potter, left the position.