Coast business leaders relying on BP money - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Coast business leaders relying on BP money

$700 million is at stake. The BP money will be sent to Mississippi over the next several years. (Photo source: WLOX) $700 million is at stake. The BP money will be sent to Mississippi over the next several years. (Photo source: WLOX)
The deadline to pass legislation spending for most of the BP oil spill damage money here on the Coast is fast approaching for state lawmakers in Jackson.(Photo source: WLOX) The deadline to pass legislation spending for most of the BP oil spill damage money here on the Coast is fast approaching for state lawmakers in Jackson.(Photo source: WLOX)
If a bill doesn’t pass in the Mississippi House by Thursday and then sent to the Senate for consideration, then the move to bring the money here will most likely fail at least for this year. (Photo source: WLOX) If a bill doesn’t pass in the Mississippi House by Thursday and then sent to the Senate for consideration, then the move to bring the money here will most likely fail at least for this year. (Photo source: WLOX)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Eleven districts throughout the state will receive funds from the $700 million BP oil settlement, which will be sent to Mississippi over the next several years. That's according to new legislation that was passed late Wednesday by the state House of Representatives.

House Bill 1512 - which was co-authored by most members of the Gulf Coast House delegation - passed with little debate. It creates 11 districts statewide where the funds can be spent, including a standalone district for Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties. 

The House also passed House Bill 1185, which will ultimately serve to govern the percentage of the total settlement which will be split among the 11 districts created by HB1512.

Coast business leaders and lawmakers say since the vast majority of damage from the spill occurred on the Coast, then the vast majority of the money should be spent here to repair the economy.

A recent report compiled by the Gulf Coast Business Council details how the Coast’s economy has never recovered from Katrina and the spill. In fact, the Coast falls behind much of the state in areas such as job creation and pay increases.

However, business leaders say the Coast does have one thing in its favor, and that’s favor from public officials. Both Governor Phil Bryant and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves have gone on record saying the money should be spent here.

With the passage of both bills in the House of Representatives, attention now shifts back to the Mississippi Senate to determine how that chamber will work to reconcile the two House bills with Senate Bill 2176, passed earlier during the legislative session. The House and Senate bills differ greatly on how each handles the BP Economic Damage Settlement funds. 

Read House Bill 1512 by clicking here or read House Bill 1185 by clicking here.

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