MS Still Struggles To Recruit Fortune 500 Company

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(Southaven, MS) Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is talking jobs and what Mississippi needs to move the state forward in landing some of this country's largest companies.

We caught up with Governor Bryant at the annual DeSoto County Economic Development Council Luncheon in Southaven.

We found out what’s on his Christmas wish list. It’s something Mississippi has never had.

“If we were ever to have an opportunity to bring such a Fortune 500 company here, we would be delighted,” said Bryant.

Bryant told the On Your Side Investigators a Fortune 500 company would mean jobs and prestige.

“We don't have a Fortune 500 headquartered in Mississippi and so if its IP (International Paper) or any other one we would be a very attractive market for someone that would want to come in and take advantage of the workforce,” said Bryant.

That’s just one selling point.

“Low union involvement, a right to work state here, taxes are relatively low on the corporate levels so it’s a really good environment,” added Bryant.

It’s a good environment but better education in the state could make it even easier to lure big companies there.

Carolers from Lewisburg Elementary in Olive Branch entertained the governor today.

They happen to attend one of the best schools in the state but not all Mississippi schools fair as well.

That may be another reason why the state is struggling to get a Fortune 500 company.

It’s another reason why Bryant is pushing for charter schools even though most of the DeSoto County delegation of state lawmakers doesn’t like them, “To know that we won't allow that and to know we may live and serve in a successful school district and say I won't let children out of failing schools. I'm not going to give them that opportunity. I hope the representatives will rethink that position."

The legislature could take up a charter school bill this January.

The governor is tying its passage to business development in the state.

Mississippi is one of only 12 states without a Fortune 500 company.

Other states without one are Hawaii, Alaska, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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