JACKSON, Miss. – On Wednesday, April 4, the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor (OSA)
Performance Division released a report focused on failed economic development programs. In the 243
projects discussed, the State of Mississippi has generated more than twelve dollars in return for every
one public dollar spent by the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) on economic developments;
failed projects represent $185.6 Million in disbursements.
In the report, five major economic incentive programs, which represent $672.9 Million in public fund
disbursements, were evaluated: the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Act (MMEIA), the Industry
Incentive Financing Revolving Fund (IIFRF), the Mississippi ACE Fund (ACE), Rural Impact Fund
Grant Program (RIF), and the Existing Industry Productivity Loan Program. Each funding program
targeted specific types of development strategies; these program goals are detailed in the report. MDA
oversees each project from funding to completion.
MDA designates economic development projects as currently active, inactive, canceled. Active projects
have not yet completed all requirements of the agreement reached with MDA or have not been closed
by MDA. Inactive projects have either met all contractual obligations. Canceled projects were awarded
grants, but did not materialize; most canceled projects either never actually received public funds or
repaid funds that were disbursed. OSA considers projects that did not meet contractual obligations
with MDA and no longer operate within the State to be failed.
Currently, the five funding programs within the scope of the report have generated nearly 36,000 jobs
and over $8 Billion in capital investment from recipients of economic development loans and/or
grants. Overall, this represents a 12.37:1 return on investment for economic development project in
The following projects are considered failed and are listed along with corresponding amounts of public funding:
Twin Creeks
GreenTech Automotive
MS Forge, Inc.
Southern Airways Corporation
WPG America, Inc.
Sanderson Plumbing
Three of the failed projects relied on unproven startup technology at the time they were funded by the
Mississippi Legislature: KiOr, Stion, and GreenTech Automotive. These three projects were all funded
with the IIFRF program and lost taxpayers over $150 Million. Notwithstanding these losses, the IIFRF
program has still generated an 8.59:1 return on investment during its tenure.
State Auditor Stacey Pickering said, “Economic development projects have been good for Mississippi.
Overall, we have all benefitted from industry being recruited to our state by economic incentives.
However, we must remain vigilant in ensuring public dollars are only spent on industry with a track
record of success instead of risky startup technology.”
The Economic Development Programs and Tax Incentives Evaluation Act of 2014 requires the
University Research Center, MDA, and the Legislative Budget Office to conduct economic analyses of
development programs and tax incentives offered by the State of Mississippi. The first report
published by this group determined that economic development projects have yielded a positive
return; however, inconsistency and incompleteness of data made thorough analysis difficult.
OSA recommends continued expansion of evaluation efforts on development projects that utilize
public assets to best position Mississippi’s economy for the future.
The full report can be found online at the OSA website.

Click here for Mississippi State Auditor's Website