Friday, January 29, 2016

MDA: Deadlines? What deadlines? JJ told you.

MDA has apparently implemented the "Million Man Math Made Easy" program. The Mississippi tourism sales tax rebate program has no rules.  2=4 or whatever MDA says it is.  MDA now interprets deadlines in Bill Clinton fashion.  It's all about giving away the house to favored developers, you see.  The Mississippi Business Journal reported yesterday:


A Louisiana real estate developer has received a four-year extension to qualify for $48.7 million in Mississippi sales tax rebates by completing a retail center on Lakeland Drive in Flowood.

The rebate for the $165 million Pinelands Lifestyle Center would come from a defunct state incentives program for new retail centers offering Mississippi-themed amenities. Legislators declined to renew the retail incentives in the 2014 session and let them expire on June 30 of that year. Pinelands Center developer Freedom Real Estate Investors, however, received a certificate earlier that month for the $48.7 million in rebates administered by the Mississippi Development Authority.

The catch was Freedom Real Estate would have 24 months to complete the Pinelands Center planned for 130 acres owned by Jackson Municipal Airport Authority. Freedom principal Ron Harvey Jr. of Slidell, La., did not gain a lease approval from the Airport Authority until mid December 2015.

With a tentative lease agreement in hand, Harvey persuaded MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough Jr. to give him four more years to complete the retail project. “This project did receive an extension for 48 months from the original expiration date on the certificate. That extends the project to June 2020,” MDA spokesman Jeff Rent said. “The extension was granted on Jan. 11, 2016.”

This extension is apparently the first agreed to by the MDA. Rent said last week he knew of none that had been granted but Monday clarified that the MDA did grant Pinelands Center the extra 48 months.

The debate over whether to kill the incentives for tourism-themed retail centers brought a lot of gripes from lawmakers. They questioned the approximately $155 million in lost sales tax money the rebates represented and the appropriateness of subsidizing businesses to compete against un-subsidized ones. Opponents also questioned the quality of the mostly low-paying jobs the centers would provide. Rest of article.
JJ obtained the application through a public records request. 

Kingfish note: JJ warned you in this earlier post.


Anonymous said...

As a small business, what has MDA every done for me? Nothing. This is crony capitalism at its worst.

MDA is completely (corrupt or incompetent). Their failures so outweigh their successes, the entire agency should be disbanded.

Detergent for life said...

Give whatever rebates Costco is asking for, just get them to Ridgeland ASAP. I'm ready to hop my fence from Greenwood Plantation and shop like a rock star

Anonymous said...

This is crony capitalism at its worst.

Establishment Republican crony capitalism at its worst.

Anonymous said...

The street address in Slidell is a private home. Must be a real big shot developer.

Anonymous said...

The airport authorities and Jackson government no doubt conspired to cloud the title and the issue. Now comes the lawsuits and expense to the taxpayers. There will not doubt be plenty of holes in the option and the MDA guaranty. Hopefully the state will win out on this. Regardless of the politics, the master plan was provided in good faith, with legitamycy and logic, unlike Jackson's politics, emotions and racism. The airport needs a change in character, image, skillful management.

Anonymous said...

KF-thank you for reporting. This is only the tip of the iceberg with what's going on in the Senate and House (lead by the dishonorable Phillip Gunn and the very dishonorable Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves). The proposed new rules that they are voting on would violate the state constitution (with regards to the passage of revenue bills-they want to just change the constitution because they think they can!), it threatens to fire any member of the House or Senate staff who speak to anyone (lobbyist, govt officials, media, etc.) and it prohibits any non-legislator (us dumb common folk who elected them) from using two stairwells in the Capitol (because they don't want ANY interference with common people knowing what they are doing. This after the very dishonorable Lt. Gov Reeves welcomes people by saying "Welcomw to YOUR Mississippi Senate." Bullshit. It's now run by whoever donates to him, Gunn, and their crooked cronies. Please keep reporting the crooked crap they are doing. There are two rooms over here (one house side and one senate side) that have lobbyists trying to work in them. Come over and pass out your email address. We'll keep you posted with more of their dishonorable work.
-a dumb common person

Anonymous said...

THIS is why Harkins wants Rankin to control the airport. Its about to be a TOURIST MECCA RESORT full of discount stores.

Anonymous said...

Wull, 11:02 small business, go apply for something. What do you need? They're not going to come knocking on your door!

Anonymous said...

Looks like they're doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing. Some states have to do more to attract attention and business, and Mississippi is one of them. It takes incentives to make it worthwhile for a business to locate here.

"The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) is the state of Mississippi’s lead economic and community development agency...The agency works to recruit new business to the state and retain and expand existing Mississippi industry and business...oversees programs that help its communities become more competitive. The agency also promotes Mississippi as a tourism destination and supports the creative economy and film industry.

Mission Statement
Mississippi Development Authority’s mission is to foster a strong state economy and vibrant communities through innovation, use of talent and resources to improve our citizens’ lives.”

Anonymous said...

Incentives = Taxpayer Giveaways

Anonymous said...

Why does JJ hate the MDA? I suppose he thinks developers will simply want to invest here because of the charitable nature of our people. And if they don't come, he thinks our state will just be alright.

I disagree. I believe the MDA is needed. Sales tax credits offered under the MDA's authority, while not perfect, yields a much better investment that a most government spending.

I think the Greenwood Plantation commenter is just mad about her choice of home locations.

Spotlights Stupid Over There said...

So, this is "...Establishment Republican crony capitalism at its worst", 11:15 AM?

You must be new to the state. These programs existed in forty years of democrat controlled house and governorships.

You people who think incentives are giving away taxpayer money are either ignorant or not thinking or both. Nothing is 'given'. Taxes are either forgive or deferred for a set period of time if the business breaks ground and brings in a bunch of jobs.

Can you really see the cost-benefit of that? Please tell me can.

Anonymous said...

If malls were tourist destinations we would top Orlando and the Vatican per capita. But why stop now? Best Buy and Sams and Shoe Depot can always move again

Anonymous said...

2:42 Developers do invest here precisely because of the charity for real estate developers that our state runs with taxpayer funds.

Mother Theresa MDA, breathing life into otherwise DOA developments.

Anonymous said...

Shopping centers have been receiving kickbacks for over 40 years? Really? Which Democrat controlled MS House, Senate and Governor cut deals like that?

Who pays the incremental costs for all the services the shopping center receives during the time the sales taxes are getting kicked back?

Anyone who argues that nothing is given by taxpayers is either ignorant, not thinking, intellectually dishonest or all three.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 1/29/16 @ 2:42. I don't think JJ hates MDA. I think JJ is trying to get everyone to see what is really going on with our tax dollars. You sound like a developer. So I'd like to ask you to start building things like the Nissan Plant. We need higher paying jobs for our state. New shopping malls with minimum wage jobs is not going to help in the long run. Why? Because people only have so much money to spend at shopping malls. If you want citizens of Mississippi to spend more money, you need to help them find better jobs in Mississippi. That is only going to happen if we find large corporations that bring jobs that builds careers. Minimum wage jobs do not bring careers and do not give people the opportunity to build a better life. We have great people in Mississippi and better paying careers are the answer. If you are a builder, you could be a hero by doing this. Let's not forget, usually when a new shopping mall opens, another one slows and eventually closes. These jobs usually shift from one location to another. Who is running the state MDA? If so, please give my tax dollars to large corporations coming to Mississippi that bring better careers. We have enough minimum wage jogs. If you want to see our state grow, we need higher paying jobs. People don't mind paying taxes when they are making enough money to live off. Then we can repair our streets, water systems, and watch our city prosper. The truth is, everyone would like to grow and be given the opportunity for something better than a minimum wage job with no future. I felt you were angry. I am hoping you are a builder with a heart that could help our state. We would all be grateful.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, not buying that crap about "bringing in jobs". The "jobs" are low-paying retail jobs and the employees of the tenants will still qualify for "aid", ie, free breakfast, free lunch, free healthcare, Section 8.....the purpose is to enrich the developer and then subsidize the retail tenant by forcing taxpayers to care for the poorly paid employees. What a concept! And, to add insult to injury, the profits of the out-of-state developer and the out-of-state tenant are exported to their respective home states to benefit THOSE economies. Now that's cookin' with Crisco aint it? Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I am a small-business owner. Thanks to a large retail center I am now able to employ people and make a little bit of a living after saving all of my life while in the military. It's hard work. So the MDA is trying to lure new business and that's wrong? Since we don't live in Utopia there are always going to be those who bend the rules for their own gain. That's the way it is and I'd rather not be one of them because money as an idol can be a very demanding, cruel idol. But development is going to happen somewhere and people will be employed and honest businesses will emerge. Every one of you shop at one of these locations. Be quiet and have a juice box.

Kingfish said...

I don't hate MDA. I just don't trust MDA after Kior. Especially the bogus assurances they knowingly gave us about clawbacks and collateral. MDA flat out lied about them. The stooge that did the lying fell upwards to another job at MSU.

MDA sometimes forgets it works for the taxpayers and not the developers.

MDA also has one of the most archaic public records policies in Mississippi government. It is designed to limit inquiry and keep people from obtaining public records from MDA. Coincidentally, DMR had the same policy.

Anonymous said...

In Afghanistan we say TIA...this is Afghanistan. So....TIM

Anonymous said...

Anyone hear if MDA is going to hire Scott Walker? He just got out, it could be one of those win/win things. Not too many people better qualified to know how those government loan programs and lobbyists can get things done. He's pretty well connected too.

2:42 said...

I respect that, KF. I don't disagree that there have been some major flops by the MDA. And I appreciate the effort to hold them accountable.

Anonymous said...

3:49, let me correct you. The Pearl shopping centre created 1600 jobs and more than 200 pay above the minimum wage. That's what I want my Republican party to do in Rankin County, create these high paying jobs. No more single-wides in Pearl!

Kingfish said...

Construction was already underway and the financing was already in place. It was simply a payoff to Yates. Period.

There should not be any of this crap for retail.

So are we going to have to start giving tax breaks just to buy a gallon of milk?

Anonymous said...

The money on all these projects are made in the construction. Whether it's a meat packing plant or Kior.
The questions that seem not to be being asked by MDA are " does the market exist?" and "how will this affect existing businesses in the short and long term?" and " what is the long term economic impact?" and " how will this impact on existing infrastructure in the community where it is located?"
Y'all do see that the development in Flowood is requiring widening 25, right?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember when there was a single honest politician in Ms.?
Has there ever been one?
Are the voters in Ms. as crooked as the people they elect or dumb as a rock?
Somewhere we have a problem. Lets try to figure out where the starting point is.

Anonymous said...

1/29/16@11:33 pm. I want our entire state to prosper. If MDA is going to give away $48.7 million tax dollars, wouldn't you rather have an industry that could provide even 1000 jobs above minimum wage? I am happy for the 200 if they are making above minimum wage, but I'm worried about the other 1400 at minimum wage. I sure wish you would post on JJ where you got your statistics. It doesn't matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat, it is about all Mississippians.

If we don't make more money, how can we spend more money? I think you and I want the same thing for our state. We just have different views on how to get there. I do not think MDA should dictate our tax dollars. This shopping mall will be called a tourist attraction. I work hard and pay my taxes. I think it is unacceptable to use my tax dollars this way.

Our state is one of the poorest in the nation. Why is that? What are we doing to make it better? Building another shopping mall? It's fine if Mississippi wants more shopping malls as long as my tax dollars are not being used. Use my tax dollars to produce industry that can grow our economy.

Anonymous said...

11:33, it takes hard work on the part of the politicians to find a way to line their pockets. Most sure fire way of getting money has become easy to spot, even for people of Ms. A politician has to come up with new creative ways of taking our tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

12:23 - I am sure I can get you an appointment with MDA to get you these benefits once you complete the work on your brochures to provide the details about the industry that YOU want to bring that will provide those 1000 jobs. Unless, of course, your example was just a hypothetical, in which case I would point out that while MDA will fund all those you want to bring in their doors, they ALSO want to have the other developments that don't fit your definition of the perfect.

For all the 'retail' haters please take a look at your mirror as you go out to shop next time and make sure it is at a business that has not received any government assistance. There are plenty - mine included. But my operation didn't create but 7 new jobs plus family members. And the initial investment did not require my risking millions although the risk to me was enough to feel like it.

While I too would be glad to get a handout I realize that my business doesn't provide benefits to the general public except for those that choose to shop at my place. I don't like the competition especially with knowing that it came with benefits allowed by the state, but I recognize that the metro area is better off with having these developments.

Anonymous said...

4:53, I am for the small business owner, and for government assistant for the small business owner. I am not for the Tourist Tax Rebate Program giving our tax dollars to shopping malls and saying it is a tourist attraction. By the way, they have done away with the program, but a few more slipped in by the deadline. I am sorry if I offended you. I am also not a retail hater. I would rather my tax dollars go to other places. So you have your thoughts on the subject and I will have mine. I wish you and your family's business much success.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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