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Miss. House Approves $6.9M Factory, Farm Tax Break

"Where we get hammered again and again is educational attainment and quality of life and those are things you need to prioritize," Sivak said.

Among firms likely to benefit the most from the bill are large electricity users such as the Nissan Motor Co. plant in Canton, the OAO Severstal steel mill in Columbus and the DuPont Co. titanium dioxide plant in DeLisle. Electric utilities won a similar exemption on their fuel in 2003 and wouldn't be affected.

Formby agreed to an amendment exempting energy sales to farmers, which means soybean growers wouldn't have to pay tax on the electricity that runs their well pumps and chicken raisers wouldn't have to pay tax for the propane that heats their chicken houses on winter nights.

Democrats offered several unsuccessful amendments, including ones to exempt family-owned cars from gas taxes and exempt small businesses from the energy sales tax. They argued that if lawmakers were going to give tax breaks, they shouldn't just go to big businesses.

"If we're going to take care of the big boys, we need to take care of the little boys too," said Rep John Hines, D-Greenville, of his unsuccessful attempt to exempt small businesses.

Moon, though, argued that manufacturers deserve special treatment because their workers generally make higher wages and they have a larger economic impact on a community.

The general effect of the Democrats' amendments would have been to make the exemptions too large for the state to afford.

"This one would gut the bill," Formby said of an amendment to exempt family-owned cars from gas taxes offered by Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson.

___

Follow Jeff Amy at http://twitter.com/jeffamy

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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