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Correction: Energy Incentives story

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm •  Published: December 12, 2012

MDA Director Brent Christensen cautioned against assuming KiOR, Stion and View will be just like Twin Creeks.

"You don't want to judge all the projects by the one that failed," he said.

An opponent of state investment in startup companies doesn't hesitate to draw conclusions, though.

"I think it is an extremely poor return on investment," said investment adviser Ashby Foote. He's the volunteer president of Bigger Pie Forum, a group promotes free-market policies for economic growth.

Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves say they oppose some aspects of deals signed under the administration of former Gov. Haley Barbour, but add that Mississippi must live up to contractual commitments it made with companies

Bryant said he's "very concerned" about job creation, but said he didn't think the state could renegotiate with companies that it has already signed contracts with.

"I don't think we could start doing that because one of the things you have to have in economic development is the ability to keep your word," he told AP.

However, state officials haven't signed contracts yet with some other firms, including Silicor, which wants to build a silicon plant in Columbus; Virdia, which wants to build biofuels plants; and GreenTech Automotive, which is building electric vehicles in Horn Lake.

The state had a deal to put in as much as $54 million, including a $50 million loan, but only would make half the loan to the San Jose, Calif. company until Twin Creeks itself invested $27 million. It's unclear how much Twin Creeks put in. Bryant told AP earlier that he stopped further aid to the company. Bryant has said he opposes state investments in start-ups and would prefer to deal with established industries.

Reeves noted he pushed a bill in last year's Legislature that would have limited MDA's ability to make loans without legislative approval. He also said he voted "no" on at least some loan requests MDA made while treasurer. However, other members of the state Bond Commission voted 'yes," allowing the loans to go ahead.


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