Sen. David Baria (D-Bay St. Louis) has a blog post up summarizing the Legislature's work during their first week. He focuses on two items of import: a failed attempt to override Gov. Barbour's wind pool funding, and the approval of incentives for a second solar panel manufacturer to set up shop in Mississippi.
Here are some excerpts:
Regarding the wind pool funding veto override attempt - "Despite the clear and unequivocal statements of the wind pool board, Commissioner Chaney now says that the $20 million will make no difference in wind pool rates. Apparently relying on Commissioner Chaney’s expertise, a sufficient number of House members voted to sustain the veto. Therefore, the wind pool will have to purchase the necessary reinsurance without the benefit of the additional $20 million. If we believe the wind pool board, we can look for rates to increase next year."
Regarding the incentives for Stion, the state's second solar panel manufacturer - "The package includes a $75 million loan from the state secured by a lien on equipment to be repaid within 10 years. When completed, the plant will employ 1,000 workers at an average annual salary of $43,000.00."Sen. Baria also mentions two bills he has sponsored regarding solar energy. First, he has a bill that would offer tax incentives to people who buy solar power equipment. Second, he's put forth legislation that would encourage the use of solar power at state facilities. Solar equipment usually pays for itself in 5-6 years in energy savings, and then continues to provide savings well into the future. This is the type of fiscally smart legislation that the Republican Senate leadership should embrace. Time will tell on that.