Rep. Adrienne Wooten, D-Ridgeland Credit: House of Representatives

A new district that includes approximately $2 billion in state-owned property in the center of Jackson moved closer to reality Wednesday.

House Bill 1226 would create the Capitol Complex Improvement District with a five-member board of directors and an executive director to oversee the district and a 11-member advisory board.

Two board members would be appointed by the governor, two by the lieutenant governor and one by the mayor of Jackson. Two of the board members are to be from Hinds County, with the remainder from Hinds, Rankin or Madison counties.

Under the bill, the state would place 12.5 percent of sales tax generated in the city of Jackson to a special fund for infrastructure maintenance and repairs.

Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, said the district would generate $20 million per year that the Department of Finance and Administration would administer. Ninety-five percent of the funds raised would have to go to infrastructure.

The city of Jackson has long asked the state to help with infrastructure maintenance near the Capitol.

However, Rep. Adrienne Wooten, D-Jackson, said that members of the Jackson delegation had not been briefed on the bill even though its sponsor, Republican Rep. Bill Denny, is from Jackson.

“I think this was a very disrespectful move by all those who were involved,” Wooten told Baker.

Baker said that he spoke briefly with Jacqueline Anderson-Woods, chief of staff to Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber, and believes the bill has the city’s support.

The bill passed 99-22. Four members of the Jackson delegation — Reps. Credell Calhoun, Alyce Clarke, Debra Gibbs and Denny —voted for the bill. Wooten along with Rep. Jarvis Dorth and Rep. Kathy Sykes voted no.

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Ryan L. Nave, a native of University City, Mo., served as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief from May 2018 until April 2020. Ryan began his career with Mississippi Today February 2016 as an original member of the editorial team. He became news editor August 2016. Ryan has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked for Illinois Times and served as news editor for the Jackson Free Press.