With the chamber full of lawmakers and several statewide officials seeking re-election or higher offices putting a good face before the voters, there were more inclinations to applaud successes than to dwell on problems.
Barbour’s listing of recent economic development projects and assurances that job creation will pick up sounded good as the state continues to deal with high unemployment and as local governments and school districts continue to suffer budget shortfalls.
Despite Barbour’s optimistic outlook for future development, the challenges of crafting a state budget without enough revenue to meet obvious needs in health, education and public safety remain.
Barbour repeated calls for lawmakers not to raise taxes and leave about $200 million in state reserve funds. Lawmakers won’t be raising taxes in an election year, but the reserve funds is another matter.
It was apparent Barbour’s address was also to a potential national audience rather than just to the joint assembly of the Mississippi Legislature as speculation of a possible run for the Republican presidential nomination continues.
Clarion Ledger Editorial