Why is Government Affairs Important?
Did you know the apartment industry in Mississippi helps contribute $2.5 billion to our economy? Personal contact between the Mississippi Apartment Association members and legislators is the key to achieving positive change for the apartment industry. The Government Affairs Committee helps oversee coordination of issues through grassroots efforts and helps bring awareness to local leaders about the importance of apartments in Mississippi. MAA works closely with the National Apartment Association to monitor issues on a federal level, such as fair housing and tax reform. The federal, state and local policy issues impacting the apartment industry are numerous and wide-ranging, and affect how property owners and managers provide safe, affordable housing. Issues can arise at any time.
Mississippi Delegation, Elected & Local Officials
The 2020 MS Legislative session will convene on January 7, 2020
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith
Senator Roger Wicker
1st District- Trent Kelly
2nd District- Representative Bennie Thompson
3rd District-Michael Guest
4th District- Steve Palazzo
MAA is proud to be a partner of the U.S. Census Bureau for 2020
Mississippi has a number of hard-to-count communities throughout our state, and because of the under-count, the state could lose our fair share of $675 billion in federal funds.
The census affects almost every aspect of federal, state, and local planning and development. Therefore, by participating in the census, an individual is being counted, and the number and amount of services located in the community is affected.
Census day is April 1, 2020 and this year individuals can participate by internet, mail or phone.
To learn more and how you can encourage residents to participate, click on the links below.
Local & State Update
On March 30 Governor Bryant signed SB2901, the Landowners Protection Act, which becomes effective July 1, 2019. This is a great win for all property owners, managers and suppliers.
Premises Liability law was causing higher insurance costs which turned into higher rents and the degradation of assets. It was causing companies to sell their properties and take their investments elsewhere.
The bill does not exclude property owners’ liability or the duty to make appropriate steps to protect invitees on their property. Property owners accept their responsibilities for their assets.
Thank you for your efforts to get it passed; without you the hard fight might have had a different outcome.
Mississippi Apartment Association & National Apartment Association Capitol Conferences a Success
MAA Government Affairs Committee has representation at both events
The Mississippi Apartment Association (MAA) Government Affairs Committee hosted the second annual Capitol Day Conference on Wednesday, January 24, 2019, at the Mississippi State Capitol Building. Several of your peers from MAA, Greater Gulf Coast Apartment Association (GGCAA) and the Apartment Association of Greater Memphis (AAGM), who represented regions throughout the state flooded the Capitol on your behalf with information on MAA and the impact of the apartment industry in Mississippi. We were able to reach most of our State’s representatives and senators.
This event allowed us to create relationships and gain support for premises liability, aka The Landlord Protection Act.
Please plan to attend this important meeting next year on January 22, 2020, from 7:30 AM until 11:00 AM. Details will be forthcoming.
Continuing the efforts of the MAA Government Affairs Committee to advocate on the industry’s behalf, Meghan Elder, Arthur Blankenship, James Burwell, and Tony Brunini attended the National Apartment Association’s Advocate Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 6, 2019. We had meetings with legislative assistants for Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker and Representatives Trent Kelley, Michael Guest, and Bennie Thompson. We shared with them the importance of legislation concerning:
Transforming the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program to maximize its impact for residents and increase participation by private owners.
Removing barriers to new housing creation through infrastructure incentives for local governments.
Protecting existing rental housing stock through reform and reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.
If you are interested in learning more about Government Affairs and how we affect the industry, please attend the next Advocate conference from March 10-11, 2020 at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, DC. More details will be shared as they become available.
Please join the Government Affairs Committee in our continuous fight for the passage of impactful legislation that positively affects you and the apartment industry in Mississippi.
Mississippi has been churning through a steady growth as other states have struggled to recover in recent years. In some places, jobs are evaporating, and workers are looking for new cities to call home. But the good news is still coming out of Mississippi, where a healthy economy continues to expand and diversify. Investors are taking a second look at this business-friendly state. For the multifamily housing sector, now is a great time to be in Mississippi.
Mississippi creates business-friendly environment
Investors should first look at the price of doing business in Mississippi. In the end, the numbers tell the story:
Low cost of doing business. The Magnolia State had the second lowest cost of doing business, according to a study by CNBC. Factors in that ranking include data like taxes, utilities, wages and real estate.
Low cost of living. Mississippi has the lowest cost of living in the country, according to the same study.
Low energy rates. Electricity in Mississippi costs less than in most states, according to the S. Energy Information Administration.
The state is known for shipbuilding, aerospace and timber, and growth is strong in manufacturing and technology. Mississippi is rich in resources, such as water, timber, oil and gas. Issues like earthquakes, drought and overpopulation are nonexistent.
“Mississippi is the complete package,” said Jeff Rent, public relations manager for the Mississippi Development Authority. “We have a very supportive governmental structure that is very pro-business. Not every state is like that.”
What does that look like? Less red tape and more efficient government processes means business owners are up and running in less time.
“When companies come here,” Rent said, “they know they’re not going to be taxed to death. That’s a very favorable, pro-business environment.”
That’s why positive development news is coming out of Mississippi all the time. Just this month, Continental Tire announced it will invest $1.5 billion in a new manufacturing plant, a project that will create 2,500 jobs.
Growth like that stirs demand in other sectors, such as multifamily housing.
“There is going to be an immediate need for available housing at multiple levels, whether it’s multifamily or single family,” Rent said.
Hattiesburg relies on diversified economy for long-term growth
Hattiesburg is the regional hub of a nine-county trade area, which includes a population of nearly 300,000. People are drawn in by all the city has to offer: fun nightlife, area attractions, a robust arts community, historical districts and top schools.
Retail sales are $2.5 billion, the second highest in the state, even though the area is the fourth largest metro, said Todd Jackson, business development director for the Area Development Partnership.
Hattiesburg was ranked No. 24 for restaurant growth by Restaurant Business Magazine, and it has been a Top 50 city for five years in a row.
“This vibrant college town is a place for booming retail and restaurant sales growth,” Jackson said.
It’s truly the diverse economy that keeps Hattiesburg growing, Jackson said. Besides retail and restaurants, the medical, education and military sectors are robust.
Nearly 6,000 workers are employed by three major medical facilities in the Hattiesburg area. A whopping 100,000 patients come through those facilities each month.
About 27,000 college students attend the four colleges and universities in Hattiesburg: the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey College, Antonelli College and Pearl River Community College. Those institutions employ more than 2,000 people.
Camp Shelby is the largest state-owned training facility in the country. More than 2,000 people work at the base, and 100,000 personnel are trained there each year.
The population of Hattiesburg is growing at a rate of 0.8 percent annually. That’s more than twice as fast as the Mississippi statewide rate of 0.39 percent, and it’s also faster than the national rate of 0.68 percent, according to the census.
The combination of a solid economy and steady growth create a strong demand for multifamily housing, whether it’s military families in transition or college students going to school.
“It has to do with the diverse economy and the fact that this area was able to weather that storm better,” Jackson said.
This region’s ability to weather economic lulls has resulted in more investors from outside our market turning to south Mississippi. A healthy, thriving economy, has multifamily investments becoming a place of stability for investor yields. Southgate Realty has been a leader in Mississippi multifamily investment real estate for more than 35 years. We combine the local knowledge investors need with the industry-leading CCIM and IREM standards they expect