The Capitol City will receive an infusion of cash beginning next year for its dilapidated roads and bridges. It was one of the last budgets passed before Mississippi lawmakers ended the legislative session.
Democratic Senator John Horhn of Hinds County, says it took three years of negotiations, but they've finally passed the Capitol Complex Improvement District. Monies collected from sales tax in the City of Jackson, will help fund road and bridge improvements in the downtown area. Many of the buildings are tax exempt.
"The state has a $5.6 billion investment in the Capitol City and we feel that it's in the best interest of the state to protect it's investment," said Horhn.
Mississippi's legislators agreed, the budget was one of the last ones the Senate passed with bi-partisan support.
"Voting yes or year, Barnett, Blackmon, Blackwell, Blount, Branning, Browning,"
The Department of Finance and Administration will oversee the special fund. Beginning in August 2018, 2 percent of the sales tax collected in Jackson, will be diverted to the fund. The following year it increases to 4 percent and tops out at 6 percent in 2020. It's estimated at 6 percent, $11 million dollars will be generated annually for infrastructure improvements. Republican Senator John Polk of Hattiesburg, championed the plan in the Senate.
"It also provides that DFA shall adopt a comprehensive plan for improvement projects in consultation with an advisory committee," said Polk.
House Democrat Adrienne Wooten of Hinds County, says they wanted 12.5 percent set aside and had to compromise.
"But this is a starting point for us and so I hope to build off of what we've done today," said Wooten.
The fund will pay for police coverage at major events in downtown Jackson. The advisory board includes appointments by the governor, Lt. governor and mayor.