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Key legislative chairman predicts Meridian will benefit from Nissan plant

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
Dec. 13, 2000
Meridian stands to benefit enormously from Nissan's billion-dollar manufacturing plant, even though it's more than hundred miles away, a key legislative committee chairman said Tuesday.
In fact, Gordon said, even though Mississippi faces a budget crunch during this fiscal year, with Nissan coming good times are ahead.
The state's economic expectations for current fiscal year have not flourished the way state leaders had seen in the past several years. The state's economy had been growing by leaps and bounds, but revenue collections are down this year causing legislative leaders to slash governmental departments by millions.
Gordon said state leaders have done what they can to keep providing services to residents without causing "serious problems." According to Gordon, more than 1,400 jobs were cut by the state this year and travel budgets have been trimmed back to help make up the unexpected shortfall.
Unfortunately, Gordon says even with those steps taken educational cuts had to be made. The state cut over $23 million from community colleges and over $46 million from IHL facilities.
Gordon said one of the most important issues the legislature needed to address was the fast paced rise of the state's Department of Corrections. The DOC's budget has expanded from $85 million in 1992 to $260 million this fiscal year, according to Gordon.
The state senator feels the answer to the problem of too much money flowing out of the DOC's budget may be to reduce the number of inmates flowing into the system.
But despite the state's budget problems this year Gordon says there are good things ahead for both Meridian and the state economically thanks to Nissan recent decision to build a plant near Canton in Madison County.
Because of the city's location near Interstates 20/59 Gordon says Meridian should be able to capitalize on offspring jobs created by Nissan presence in Madison County.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.

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