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.”JJ obtained the application through a public records request.
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.
Kingfish note: JJ warned you in this earlier post.