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HA – Why didn’t McCoy act...

HA – Why didn’t McCoy act sooner?

By: Magnolia Tribune - August 18, 2005

HA – Why didn’t McCoy act sooner?

In this case, the “homework” is the proposed economic development projects that come before the Mississippi Legislature.

We appreciate the speaker’s new insight and welcome his latest decision: to create a study committee to set guidelines for future projects being considered by lawmakers.

We just wonder: Why did it take McCoy so long to reach this point?

Late last week, officials at Baxter Healthcare in Cleveland announced they are laying off 60 of the company’s 800 workers.

This is the same company that received $14 million in loans and incentives from state lawmakers – at the behest of Gov. Haley Barbour – during last month’s special session.

Immediately after the Baxter announcement, McCoy established the study committee.

That’s all well and good. If the governor and lawmakers are going to throw taxpayers’ money at economic development projects, there had better be guidelines for and restrictions on these proposals.

But we wonder: why now? And why not sooner?

Why didn’t McCoy – who’s been the focus of criticism for his role in helping to fund the now-defunct Mississippi Beef Processors plant – create his study committee following that legislative debacle, which cost state taxpayers a whopping $55 million?

It’s somewhat disingenuous of McCoy to create a study committee now, especially given the fact he had his hand in one of the biggest boondoggles in legislative history.

The announcement of layoffs at Baxter – only one month after lawmakers approved a $14 million incentive package for the company – underscores the need for greater oversight of these projects.

It strikes us as odd that lawmakers – many of whom were aware of the pending layoffs – would go ahead and approve the incentive package.

McCoy’s committee might be able to provide much-needed direction on this front.

We just wish the speaker had acted sooner.

Hattiesburg American Editorial

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