Big River Steel Details Emerge In Legislation

by Roby Brock ( 9 views 

If your mind has not been numbed enough by details of the Big River Steel discussion this week, then the amendment added to shell bill SB 820 will be more than enough to finish the job.

Details have emerged through a 52-page amendment to a bill filed to lay out the terms and conditions of the state’s agreement to float a bond issue and provide tax credits and incentives to the $1.1 billion steel mill superproject to be located in Osceola (Mississippi County). The factory, led by investor John Correnti, is expected to initially employ about 525 workers.

Lawmakers are being asked to approve a $125 million bond issue that will allow for lower financing rates for a $50 million loan and $75 million in grants and incentives to begin the infrastructure for the superproject.

The new amendment to the bill, co-sponsored by local elected officials Sen. David Burnett (D-Osceola) and Rep. Monte Hodges (D-Blytheville) also includes a copy of the agreement between the state of Arkansas and Big River Steel.

For Big River to qualify for the benefits laid out in the act, it must:

  • Begin its work prior to March 31, 2016 and be considered a qualified steel manufacturer.
  • Also have begun production after January 1, 2013
  • Have invested $500 million in the mill on property, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, project planning, or construction labor costs.
  • Employ 300 individuals in management, operations and maintenance of the steel mill.
  • Pay wages equal to or in excess of $70,000 per year per employee.

The bill also requires Big River Steel to report annually that it is maintaining these requirements to keep its benefits.

You can read the full bill at this link, which also incorporates the state agreement with the endeavor.

The bill could run as early as Thursday in the Senate Agriculture, Forestry, and Economic Development committee.

On Tuesday night, the Mississippi County Quorum Court unanimously approved a $14 million incentive package for the Big River Steel deal.