Stealing a post title from 2011, Slabbed is going to tell you the story you won’t hear in the local media about the new Opportunity Zones, which made the news this past week locally. For those so interested in catching up, the Sea Coast Echo ran this press release based account of the Hancock County designation along with a picture of the smiling Bill Cork of Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission. Likewise WLOX ran a similar story plus acted the part of cheerleader in an editorial which was completely devoid of substance. But first here is the reaction from our local politicos as recounted by those media outlets linked above:
Blaine LaFontaine, president of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, said, “We are grateful not one, but two census tracts in Hancock County were selected for this opportunity. We hope that private investment and incentives will help provide long-term investments to decrease poverty and increase per capita incomes in our community.”
Here LaFontaine correctly repeats the theory behind the program as did Bill Cork in his remarks. Here is some more reaction:
Waveland Mayor Mike Smith said, “Waveland is very excited to be a part of the opportunity zone which offers tax relief to investors. It will be the shot in the arm that our community needs to spur development and create very needed jobs.”
Glenn McCullough Jr., executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, said global companies know the advantages of the state’s productive workforce coupled with our superior business climate. “By adding Qualified Opportunity Zones, investing in Mississippi becomes an even more logical business decision for companies looking to locate or expand in our state,” he said.
As we read those last two remarks everyone began to giggle behind the scenes here at Slabbed. Here in Mississippi the MDA is more well known for its multi-million dollar boondoggles and by linking the tax relief Opportunity Zones offers investors with job creation both Mayor Smith and McCullough stepped out in a big way because there is no such linkage between jobs and investment in the program. In fact one naturally wonders if Mayor Smith actually saw the map of the designated area because Waveland was largely EXCLUDED from it. Here is a screen capture of the map of the local Opportunity Zone area: Continue reading “And they “sniffed the reeking buns of Angel acted like it was cocaine”……”