Money, Taxes Apparent Issues for Government

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State Rep. Greg Snowden of Meridian told the city and county officials attending the monthly Council of Governments that the state's financial picture is grim.

Snowden said while 2005's expected growth in state income will be $150 to $170 million, requests by state agencies for increases in funding will be over $1 billion.

"You can't tax your way out of this, and in fact, and again it's my own opinion, had we enacted the fee increases or the tax increases that were suggested last year, we wouldn't even notice it this year," Snowden said. "The government is going to spend every dime we can give it and then more."

Snowden said if state government leaders propose a tax increase, the governor will likely veto it and the veto will be sustained.

"We can't continue to go to these special funds. We've drained all of those. The day of reckoning is here, and regardless of whether a tax increase may be part of that puzzle, that's still not going to solve the painful dilemma we have. We just have to make a lot of tough decisions," said Snowden.

The state is not the only government with problems. County supervisor Craig Hitt said Lauderdale County is faced with the cost of cleaning up after Hurricane Ivan. He said constituents are complaining it isn't being done rapidly enough.

"We're getting the things done. Lots of other things have happened over the last two or three years that we, unfortunately, can't control," said Hitt. "Floods to a hurricane in Lauderdale County, Miss. We're not supposed to have those things but have and we're dealing with them as best we can and we appreciate the public being as patient as they have been with us."

Hitt said each district must wait its turn for cleanup. Currently, county crews are working in District 2.