Each year, the Mississippi Legislature passes several local bills that include tourism taxes and authorizations of counties or cities to contribute taxpayer funds to non-profit organizations, and Coahoma County's Tri-County Alliance is one of those organizations.
Tri-County approached the Coahoma County Board of Supervisors last fall seeking a donation or to obtain sustained county funds. Board of Supervisors President Johnny Newson urged them to pursue the local-and-private route.
Josephine Rhymes has been Executive Director of Tri-County Workforce Alliance (TCWA) since its implementation in 1996. Tri-County's mission is to promote long term economic and community development by building a healthy and competitive workforce through education and job training.
Unlike the local tourism tax bills that are also passed each year, these contributions require no referendum and usually go into effect immediately unlike most appropriations and general bills that take effect on July 1. Seven of these bills were passed by the Legislature in the recently concluded session.
HB 1487 would allow the city of Vicksburg to contribute $300,000 annually to the Vicksburg Warren County Economic Development Foundation for the Thad Cochran Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology project, a $19 million project intended to provide education in technology fields, entrepreneurship and technical startups in the old Mississippi Hardware Building in downtown Vicksburg. Gov. Tate Reeves signed the bill into law on April 5 and it went into effect immediately.
House Bill 1434 authorizes the Tallahatchie County Board of Supervisors to provide $24,000 in taxpayer funds to Mid-State Opportunity Inc., a community action agency that receives most of its funding from federal grants. According to its most recent filing from 2019 with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the group received $2.5 million in government grants.
In its 990, the organization says it provides energy bill assistance to needy families through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, case management and assistance services for education, employment, transportation, childcare, housing and emergency assistance. It also participates in a program funded by the Delta Workforce Investment Area to provide “work experience and employability skills training to disadvantaged high school seniors to help them earn their high school diplomas and prepare for a school to work transition.”
Reeves signed the bill into law on April 5 and it goes into effect immediately.
HB 1497 would allow Jackson County’s Board of Supervisors to make annual contributions until 2024 for several non-profits. These include a $25,000 contribution to the Home of Grace, a $20,000 contribution to the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education, and $10,000 contributions apiece to the Pascagoula River Audubon Center and the United Way for Jackson and George County. It was signed by the governor on April 5 and went into effect immediately.
Senate Bill 3087 would allow the Warren County Board of Supervisors to provide contributions to the following entities:
- Central Mississippi Prevention Services Inc. $1,125.
- Vicksburg Family Development Service, Inc. $4,500.
- Triumph Ministries, Inc. $11,250.
- Women's Restoration Shelter of
- Mountain of Faith Ministries $4,500.
- Good Shepherd Inc. $20,000.
- We Care Community Services, Inc. $5,625.
The governor signed the bill into law on April 5 and it went into effect immediately.
Holmes County had two bills, with HB 1499 allowing the county supervisors to contribute $25,000 annually in taxpayer funds to the Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation until 2025 and HB 1498 which allows a $5,000 contribution annually to P.E.A.R.L.S. Mentoring for Girls Inc. until 2025. Both were signed into law by the governor on April 5 and went into effect immediately.
HB 1490 would allow the Coahoma County Board of Supervisors to provide a donation of $5,000 annually until 2025 to the Tri-County Workforce Alliance. Gov. Reeves signed it on April 5 and it went into effect immediately.