Budget woes consumed a large portion of the 45-minute State of the State speech delivered Tuesday evening by Gov. Haley Barbour to a joint session of the Mississippi Legislature.
The Republican Barbour, delivering his sixth such speech, sounded a somber tone as he told lawmakers, other state elected officials and a television and radio audience that as a result of declining tax collections he will be forced to make budget cuts of between $175 million and $310 million on top of the $42 million he made earlier this fiscal year.
The cuts could come this week.
“The recession is deepening. Unemployment is going up fast,” said Barbour, who along with first lady Marsha Barbour, received a standing ovation. Barbour received generous applause during the speech, but its somber tone limited the opportunity for ovations.
He did end the speech on a positive note, saying Mississippi would be geared to come out of the recession quicker than many states because of the steps taken in recent years.