Nearly thirteen years to the day after Nissan announced that it would build a automotive plant in Mississippi, a newly released report outlines the positive impact the plant has had on the state. MPB's Paul Boger reports
Move Mississippi Forward -- a community-based organization dedicated to promoting positive economic development -- released an independent report yesterday, celebrating Nissan's first decade of operation in the state.
James Hull is the executive director.
"This organization is dedicated to help commission studies; like the one that you've seen here." said Hull. "To make sure that the quality of life is going up. To make sure that wages are going up. We want to do anything we can to match up industries and communities with community based voices."
According to the report, Nissan Canton has created more than 16,000 jobs in the area. Added an estimated $.5 billion to the state's gross domestic product; and generated -- on average -- 180 million dollars in additional state and local taxes annually.
Despite the report's findings, the plant still has its critics. State Representative James Evans said without an auto worker's union, the plant will never reach it's full potential.
"It's a good thing for the state to have good companies that make god products, and Nissan is a good company that makes a good product." said Evans. "The problem is the Mississippi workers are not getting all of the benefits that they can get. Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, New York and California all do better when their workers are organized."
Blake Wilson is with the Mississippi Economic Council. He said allowing unions could alter Mississippi's ability to attract other industries.
"Mississippi, being a non-union environment for the automotive industry is one of the things that brought the automotive industry here." said Wilson. "Why would we want to put up a barrier to make it so more automotive doesn't want to come here? We got an opportunity to open the doors and bring more. We think it's a better environment not to have a union environment here in the automotive industry in Mississippi."
The report -- entitled "Nissan Canton: 10 Years Later" -- was conducted by the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center, a non-partisan group at Mississippi State University.