Barbour: Plan could bring 1,800 new jobs to Mississippi

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - In this Friday's Special Session, state lawmakers will consider incentive packages for two high-tech economic development projects. Gov. Haley Barbour said, if approved, the packages would create almost 1,800 new jobs in Mississippi.

Gov. Barbour said he'll ask legislators to consider a $75 million package to bring Calisolar to Columbus with a private capital investment of at least $600 million and 951 direct full-time jobs with an average annual salary of $45,000 plus benefits.

Calisolar's Columbus facility will produce silicon to be used in a number of industries, including automotive, energy (including solar panels), electronics and consumer industries.

Lawmakers also will consider a $100 million package for HCL CleanTech, which is planning to invest $1 billion to establish the company's headquarters in Olive Branch, build a small-scale commercial facility and research and development center in Grenada, and construct three large-scale commercial plants that the company intends to locate in the Booneville, Hattiesburg and Natchez areas. The company will create 800 jobs with an average salary of $67,000 plus benefits.

Later, HCL CleanTech will relocate its existing pilot facility to Mississippi. HCL CleanTech converts biomass to sugars that can be utilized as industrial bioproducts.

"Calisolar and HCL CleanTech are examples of how Mississippi has become a top site for high-tech, high-skilled manufacturing," Gov. Barbour said. "I hope the Special Session will be short and productive as we continue the business of creating new, higher-paying jobs for Mississippians."

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