Update: Here is the RFP issued by DFA for the new site.
One item overlooked in the debate over where to move the Department of Revenue is taxes. It's really quite simple. If the state leases the property, the landlord pays taxes to various local governments. If the state purchases the property, the state is exempt from paying taxes.
Senator Blount sponsored a bill to purchase the Landmark Building as a future site for the Department of Revenue. The owner of the Landmark pays $750,000 per year in property taxes to Hinds County, Jackson, and the Jackson Public School District.
However, Hinds County Tax Assessor Charles Stokes told JJ this afternoon the county will reassess this property this year as it has no tenants and similar buildings adjacent to the property are not exactly enjoying low vacancy rates. Thus the property tax bill will decline next year although Mr. Stokes declined to speculate on how much the decrease will be.
Speaker of the House Philip Gunn sponsored HB# 1337. It gives the state the authority to purchase the old WorldCom building (now called Southpoint Center). The bill states:
"SECTION 1. (1) The Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, acting on behalf of the Department of Revenue, is authorized to acquire certain real property and the improvements thereon in the method as determined in the best interest of the State of Mississippi, located in the corporate limits of the City of Clinton, Hinds County, Mississippi, for the use and benefit of the Department of Revenue, which such property is more particularly described as follows..."
The bill does not give the state any authority to lease the property.
"No property purchased under the provisions of this section may be purchased for more than the average value of the two (2) appraisals on such property."
There are no bills mandating the state purchase the Ergon site on Highland Colony Parkway. The RFP for the state considers only leases, not purchases. Stay tuned. This is going to get more interesting.