Friday, October 30, 2015

Mississippi Spends Over $70 million on big business, aquarium, Elvis Presley museum

[]Mike Hopper Generation Opportunity

In the face of exceedingly high debt, it would make sense for states to start trimming their budgets and cutting costs wherever they could. However, Mississippi, which is $5.3 billion in debt, seems to be doing just the opposite.
It’s spending extravagant amounts on seemingly wasteful projects that offer minimal chances for strong returns.
In order for some of these attractions to start recouping costs, they would have to bring in massive amounts of visitors every year. For instance, an aquarium in Gulfport, Mississippi, is costing around $24.5 million, but will have to attract an estimated 478,000 visitors per year in order to generate around $119 million in revenue by 2019. While this may seem feasible, it is competing against other attractions in the area that are also pushing for their share of revenue.
What are some other projects the state is spending big bucks on? Here’s a closer look:
  • $20 million to upgrade the Huntingdon Ingalls Shipyard.
  • $20 million to upgrade the Tupelo plant at Cooper Tire.
  • $2.5 million to build a Tammy Wynette museum when she is honored at a nearby museum in Alabama already.
  • $6 million to build a Grammy-related museum on the campus of Delta State University.
  • $1 million to upgrade the lake at The Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum to create a more tranquil setting.
The real catch is that many of these projects are simply wasteful, some have kickbacks for large businesses and are an example of rampant corporate welfare. Money being distributed to major companies, like Cooper Tire, has to come from somewhere, and it’s currently being taken from taxpayers, many of whom are trying to run businesses of their own.

 The government often directs working Americans’ money toward industries that have a lot of lobbying power, or companies where it has a vested interest. For instance, with the Huntingdon Ingalls Shipyard, the company has secured contracts for $499 million and $604 million to build ships for the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy.

This type of financial management puts young residents of the state at a disadvantage because it raises prices on goods and services, increases taxes, and takes away jobs—not to mention that Mississippians are going to have to someday deal with the debt their state racks up.

It’s time for states like Mississippi to take a more mindful approach to how they’re allocating funding rather than throwing money toward wasteful projects that benefit a few at the expense of everyone else.
Reckless spending, unfortunately, isn’t just an issue for the state of Mississippi. It’s a national problem—one that’s going to catch up to all of us someday. You can learn more here.