Barbour on Budget

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All problems seem to be connected one way or another with money and the state's financial shortfall. Newscenter 11 asked if there is confrontation between the governor and the legislature, or negotiation.

"I've put out the budget that I think is the best under the circumstances," Barbour said. "The legislative budget committee has a different budget. Others are promoting other things. This is what will happen. Everybody will kind of get their ideas on the table and then we'll work through them. And before the session's over, there will be a compromise in the budget. It won't be a popular compromise. There are no politically popular solutions to our budget problems."

The federal court ordered the Medicaid PLAD (Poverty Level, Aged, and Disabled) program to be continued through Jan. 31. At that point, if it is still out of balance, Barbour will have to act.

"You know, under the law in Mississippi, I am forced to make the cuts that are necessary to get the Medicaid budget back into balance. I will abide by the law," the governor said.

But with all the state's problems, Barbour says he is still optimistic about Mississippi's future.

"State government is not Mississippi. Mississippi is a whole lot bigger than our state government and Mississippi is doing well," he said. "Employment is up. We have the biggest net increase in jobs since 1999 last year and last year had the biggest increase in personal income since 1998."

There is a solution to the state's funding problems, the governor said. Through compromise and cooperation, Barbour says he and the legislature will find it.