Senate welcomes Taiwanese trading partners, passes infrastructure billBy TERRY C. BURTON,
This week I hosted on the floor of the Senate Peter C.Y. Chen, director general of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston and consular officer Weiling Chen, important trade partners to our state.
Our visit was to explore more possibilities for future trade opportunities in our bilateral relationship with Taiwan, Republic of China.
Mississippi exported $47 million in goods to Taiwan in 2016. The exports included dye, paint, putty, cotton fabric, electrical machinery and medical instruments, among others, making them our 35th largest trading partner. They are an important partner to Mississippi in trade.
In other business we passed Senate Bill 3047 that would direct slightly more than $144 million toward state colleges and universities and certain state buildings for repairs and upgrades.
Included in the bill is $7 million for the Mississippi Military Department, $2 million of which will go for repairs to readiness centers and $5 million for construction and equipping of a new National Guard Readiness Center in DeSoto County that will also house the DeSoto County Emergency Operations Center.
The larger share, $82 million, goes to the Institutions of Higher Learning for mostly upgrades and repairs.
We passed Senate Bill 3046 that would provide more than $1 billion for infrastructure repair and upgrades. The BRIDGE Act would not raise taxes, but uses existing dollars, revenue growth and bonds to invest in city, county and state projects over five years.
We passed Senate Bill 2998 that would allow Airbus Helicopters in Columbus sales tax exemptions on aircraft sold directly from their facility, instead of shipping them to Texas, as commonly done. The bill would encourage corporations to spend significant time in the area and spend money in the local economy.
Our passage of Senate Bill 3031 would allow private investors to be tax exempt if they construct for lease student housing on the campus of Alcorn State University, which could use more student housing.
We passed Senate Bill 3048 that established $43 million in additional funding for repairs and upgrades at state buildings and facilities.
We passed a commendatory Rules calendar.
Also passed this week were:
• Senate Bill 2292 that fast tracks money to the Capitol Complex Improvement District to begin certain projects.
• Senate Bill 2312 that would exempt cities from charging state sales tax on admission to certain events that they sponsor.
• Senate Bills 3026 and 3036 would authorize the use of golf carts on certain roads inside the town of Sumrall and the city of Bay St. Louis.
These bills now go to the House for consideration.
Terry Burton, R-Newton, represents Senate District 31. Call 601-359-3234 to contact Burton in Jackson.