Mississippi can’t afford to tax and spend more than it takes in

When I took office in January 2004, I was greeted with a $720 million budget hole. Years of spending more money than we took in had created a financial nightmare for the state. We had to tighten our belts and find ways to save money. We eliminated that hole in two years, and we did it without raising anybody’s taxes.

I have great concern my successor will face the same situation if the Legislature approves current budget proposals without addressing our economic reality.

Families are concerned about job security and planning for the future. Business owners are not hiring workers and are limiting investment. The approach of $4 gas this summer won’t help.

Under current budget proposals, legislators spend too much one-time money, which would leave us with a budget hole of almost $700 million in Fiscal Year 2013. In contrast, my budget proposal outlined difficult, yet necessary, decisions to guide Mississippi out of the recession and back on the path of strong economic growth. My budget adequately funded agencies and called for structural changes to the way government operates with long-term financial success in mind.

Neshoba Democrat
Haley Barbour
3/18/11