Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Mississippi To Have Long Range Plan For Job Creation
Governor Wants To "Lift Mississippi's Horizons"

(Jackson, Miss.) - Governor Haley Barbour said he wants Mississippi to reach for new heights in economic development, and he chose an appropriate place to illustrate his point. Governor Barbour today unveiled the formation of a long-range economic development plan for the state, "Momentum Mississippi," and named Anthony Topazi, President of Mississippi Power Company and Blueprint Mississippi Economic Development Co-Chairman, to lead the plan's initiative.

Governor Barbour made the announcement standing on one of the highest points in Mississippi, the rooftop of AmSouth Plaza in downtown Jackson.
"I want to lift Mississippi's horizons and raise our expectations for ourselves as we compete in the world," said Governor Barbour. "Our goal is to reach the top, so it was appropriate that we start here."

Governor Barbour said the Legislature began Mississippi's job creation momentum by passing one of the most comprehensive tort reform laws in the country, streamlining Mississippi's workforce development system, and not raising taxes. "These recent reforms have laid the foundation for Mississippi's competitiveness and economic growth.
Now, we will build on this foundation with Momentum Mississippi. Our goal will be to help all Mississippians reach for new heights by making more opportunities available to them."

The group will start with Blueprint Mississippi's recommendations, which were unveiled last week by state business and higher education leaders and the Mississippi Economic Council. Momentum Mississippi will immediately fulfill one of the recommendations of Blueprint Mississippi
- the implementation of the Statewide Economic Development Planning Act of 1987. The Act calls for a strategic, statewide approach to economic development that is systematically reviewed and updated. Momentum Mississippi will also draw on other reports such as the McCoy Working Group plan - developed by university and community colleges earlier this year. Governor Barbour announced he will be forming a Momentum Mississippi Advisory Committee which will be a broad-based group from every region of the state to give recommendations for long-range economic development plans. This will provide sustainable leaders who will assist in advocating an effective economic development strategy.

Governor Barbour said that Momentum Mississippi recommendations will be included as part of his 2005 legislative agenda. "It should be no surprise that Momentum Mississippi will be a top priority for this Administration. Job creation is our state's most urgent need," said Governor Barbour. "With innovative ideas from the private and public sector, this economic development strategy will help Mississippi become a major player in the global marketplace," he added. "Our focus will not be on just another report, our focus will be on results - results measured in more and better jobs in Mississippi."

"We live in a time of very rapid change and great opportunity," stated Leland Speed, executive director of Mississippi Development Authority (MDA). "The Momentum Mississippi Advisory Committee will help to insure that MDA is focusing its resources in the most effective manner for today's environment."

"As we gathered input from around the State during the Blueprint Mississippi process, we clearly heard the need for sustainable leadership and focus on the State's economic development priorities,"
said Anthony Topazi. "Momentum Mississippi can provide that leadership and help build the partnerships necessary to move our State forward."


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741

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