Senate passes business-friendly bill

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 1, 2009

This week we passed pro-business legislation designed to create more jobs for our constituents.

Our passage of Senate Bill 3201 will exempt from certain taxes, a portion of Mississippi Power Company’s 582 megawatt, lignite burning power plant to be built in Kemper County.

That allowed us to secure the plant and help create 260 new jobs that will come on line when the plant is operational in 2013. Construction will start in 2010 and at its peak, will see about 1,000 workers involved in the process, contributing to the local economy.

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The $2.2 billion total investment should have tremendous spinoff effects including an increase in school taxes that will give local officials the option of lowering the millage rate, giving citizens some needed tax relief.

We also passed Senate Bill 3270 that will exempt from sales tax carbon dioxide used by Denbury Resources Inc., in the injection recovery of crude oil. This bill should help Denbury — which has a site in Adams County — to increase its field activity, resulting in more barrels of crude oil being gathered from old oil wells that were once thought to no longer be productive. The increase will mean millions of dollars more for the state.

The company employs about 400 people in Mississippi and contributes to the economies of Brandon, Laurel and McComb where it has field offices.

Our passage of Senate Bill 3227 will give the Department of Public Safety $2.6 million more that will be used to boost the salaries of our 154 entry level State Troopers who must work a certain amount of overtime annually. Their pay will go from $37,359 a year to $39,793.

Our Appropriations Committee agreed to support House Bill 724 that will allow the University Medical Center to use non-state money recruit more doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

The adoption of Senate Bill 3272 — the inventory tax reduction act — once implemented will help businesses to gradually reduce the level of tax they pay in this category. This authorizes the state to begin giving the deduction only after we have had three consecutive years of positive revenue growth of 5-percent or more. It will be phased in over a five-year period.

This pro-business measure can be a recruitment tool in the future. Being able to store greater inventories at a lower cost will have spinoff effects.

We passed Senate Bill 3179 that increased the amount of money available for our rural and volunteer fire departments to purchase trucks.

These items next will go to the House of Representatives where we hope they will be looked upon favorably.

Sen. Kelvin Butler

Mississippi senator representing

a portion of Adams County