Economic development council, is it needed?

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Economic development has been said to be a top priority by people running for various offices in Pearl River County during the last few elections.

And now several local elected officials and other representatives are working to establish an office that would essentially do what existing offices already provide. One source of possible funding being considered is a one cent tax on purchases of prepared food and hotel rooms.

Keep in mind, we already have a couple of economic development organizations within the county.

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One of the many goals of Picayune Main Street, Poplarville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce is to help drive economic development and support local businesses.

This idea of an additional one cent in sales tax is not new. It was introduced by former District I Supervisor Anthony Hales while in office. But back then the idea received little backing from his fellow supervisors. In fact, when Hales brought up the idea, the goal was to help lower property taxes for Pearl River County property owners.

Now, the current administration has taken the idea and wants to use those extra funds to establish another office to help drive economic development.

But do we need another office providing much of the same service three others in the county already do?

It might make more sense to take these extra tax dollars, provided the state approves it, and put them to some other use, such as providing more staff to offices already in existence so they can better do their jobs.

The idea of promoting economic development is sound.

When more businesses locate to the area, more jobs are created and therefore more taxes are collected. In the end, if the proposal is successful, property owners would see a decrease on their tax bill.

But maybe there is a more efficient way that goal can be achieved without creating an entirely new office and the expense that comes with it.