The Sun Herald, 2/21/9

A measure Coast leaders want to prop up the wind pool insurance program with an extra $20 million became a little more likely when President Barack Obama signed a large federal stimulus bill this week, as it may have eased some apprehensions in the fiscally-conservative Mississippi Senate about spending the money.

After Hurricane Katrina, lawmakers set aside $80 million for the program, $20 million of which had already been set aside this year. But late last month, members of the Gulf Coast Business Council petitioned the government for an additional $60 million, $20 million in additional money next year, for a total of $40 million, to help offset rate increases.

But some feared the extra funds were a long shot and some even worried that the funds that already were set aside could be cut because of the tight state budget, which has prompted cuts in some agencies.

All this week, discussions were being held in Capitol offices about the measure and GCBC officials made the trip up U.S. 49 to make the case for the money, which they said was crucial to stimulating the Coast economy and jump-start Hurricane Katrina recovery.