HQ bill means jobs

Gov. Phil Bryant signs into law the Headquarters Tax Incentive Bills, authored in the House and Senate, which are aimed at luring corporate headquarters of Fortune 500 companies to Mississippi. DeSoto County lawmakers, local supervisors, mayors and economic officials witnessed the signing. Photo by Elwin Williams/DeSoto Times-Tribune

JACKSON — With a throng of state and local lawmakers along with city mayors standing behind the gubernatorial desk, Gov. Phil Bryant signed two companion House and Senate bills aimed at bringing the national and regional headquarters of Fortune 500 companies to Mississippi.

House Bill 785, a headquarters tax incentive bill, and Senate Bill 2933 which provides some tax exemptions for medical and pharmaceutical companies, are aimed at luring the corporate headquarters of companies to the Magnolia State.

DeSoto County, with its close proximity to Memphis International Airport and the Mississippi River, is a logistics hub that has been rapidly attracting third party logistics companies during the past decade.

Officials are hoping that national and corporate headquarters aren't far behind.

"DeSoto County and many other counties in the state have a great business climate," Nicole Webb, director of communications and spokesperson for Bryant said following the signing ceremony.

Under the Headquarters Tax Incentive Bill, companies must promise to bring at least 20 jobs in to qualify and relocate national or regional headquarters to Mississippi.

Those companies who qualify are eligible for a $1 million tax credit on their income tax.

"This is something that might attract a Fortune 500 company," Webb said.

Webb said these corporate jobs will pay highly competitive wages and will "have a significant impact on the economy."

Under the Senate bill, companies like McKesson Pharmaceutical which relocated in Olive Branch from Memphis, will receive a tax benefit.

The pharmaceutical giant was getting taxed on goods that were not manufactured or sold in Mississippi but were transitory in nature during the shipping and distribution process.

"With the continued improvements that are being made in the interstate system in our county, this headquarters bill will allow us to attract potential additional businesses into the area," State Sen. David Parker, R-Olive Branch, said following the ceremony. "I am proud of the team of leaders from DeSoto County that are willing to work together to enhance the future for our state and county. Legislators, mayors, supervisors and area business leaders were able to attend and share in the bill signing. We all look forward to the continued impact of this legislation."

State Rep. Wanda Jennings, R-Southaven, said House lawmakers had been working on the headquarters tax incentive legislation for months.

"It's expected to be very beneficial to DeSoto County and the Gulf Coast," Jennings said. "One of the examples that we've followed is Delaware. Delaware has some of the highest numbers of corporate headquarters in the country."

Jennings said with the completion of Interstate I-69/269, which traverses through much of central and eastern DeSoto County, opportunities abound to make northwest Mississippi the nation's new corporate headquarters corridor.

'Specifically, we'd like to make I-69 comparable with what they did when they created a corporate headquarters corridor between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. That corridor is just lined with national and international corporate headquarters."

Robert Lee Long: rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252

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