Governor to Call Special Legislative Session for Huge
From: Office of the Governor
Filed 8/18/06 GCN
(JACKSON, Mississippi) * Governor Haley Barbour announced today he will
call a special session of the Mississippi Legislature to convene at 9 a.m.
on Thursday, August 24, 2006, and deal primarily with a huge job-creating
project in northwest Mississippi known as Riverbend Crossing.
"This enormous development will include unique, branded tourist
attractions and convention facilities that will benefit not only northwest
Mississippi but also the entire state," Governor Barbour said. "The state
is pleased to join with local governments in DeSoto County in providing
these modest incentives for the project to be located in our state."
Governor Barbour said certain elements of the proposed Riverbend Crossing
project, which includes a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Company (MGM) entertainment
district, require legislative action before they can go forward. Riverbend
is a 4,500-acre multi-phase master planned community that will consist of
a blend of commercial, recreational, resort, tourism and residential
Developers have stated their intention to invest $2.7 billion over 15
years. In the first phase, in return for state support, developers have
committed a minimum capital investment of $475 million and creation of a
minimum of 3,500 new, full-time jobs.
Governor Barbour said he will ask the Legislature to approve $23 million
for public infrastructure * roads, water and sewer * to serve the project.
He said he will also seek approval for a tourism sales tax rebate that is
limited to 30 percent of capital expenditures for each eligible project
investment for 10 years. This sales tax rebate will equal 80 percent of
the sales tax collected from each eligible project under a total rebate
ceiling of $150 million for the Riverbend project.
The Governor's proposal to the Legislature will include protections for
the state's interests and remedies if the developer fails to perform
according to detailed terms being developed and signed before construction
begins. For example, if projects do not meet investment requirements, they
will not qualify for sales tax rebates.
The Governor said he is also working with the leadership of the House and
Senate, including the Speaker and Lieutenant Governor and chairmen of the
House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee, on other
issues that he may consider adding to the call if appropriate.