Barbour’s press – Hood settlement not the “magic wand” to budget impasse

Microsoft Corp.’s settlement of an antitrust lawsuit filed by the state of Mississippi will result in a payment of $40 million in about 40 days, and the House’s Democratic leaders say the windfall should lead to a breakthrough in stalled state budget talks.

However, the state’s Republican leaders don’t see this money as the key to reconciling the differences that have kept them apart from the House of Representatives.

“The size of this settlement isn’t the magic wand that makes Mississippi budget problems disappear,” said Dan Turner, Gov. Haley Barbour’s press secretary.

But House Speaker Billy McCoy said the Microsoft money should “allow us to come to fruition on a positive plan for the next fiscal year.”

“Certainly this gives us a tremendous opportunity to solve some of the points of contention that we have faced in the budgeting process,” McCoy said in a statement he issued Thursday. “It presents us with many possibilities that were not on the table when we last met.”

“It’s a perfect opportunity to be able to come to an amicable agreement,” said House Majority Leader Tyrone Ellis of Starkville.

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