Tuck on Money Problems

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The problems seem to be concentrated around money, or the lack thereof, for the 2004 budget.

"We have experienced a tremendous downturn in our economy," Tuck said. "Our sales tax collections seem to be on par or even above our estimates. But where we are lacking is in our individual income tax. We are not meeting any estimates and way below estimates almost every month. That has certainly created some problems for us because we are not able to do everything that we want to do."

But shortage of funds or not Tuck said some promises will still be kept.

"We will make sure we fulfill our commitment to the teachers across the state," promised Tuck. "We have said yes we are going to fund the $74 million for our teacher's pay raise."

She thanked the Meridian medical community for their help in passing the medical malpractice reform bill.

"A great deal of thank you’s and gratitude go to your medical community here in Meridian," said Tuck. "Mayor, they were on the phone, they sent faxes, letters and I know some probably came to the Capitol. That made a difference."

Tuck also paid tribute to the late Glen Deweese of Meridian, who was her deskmate when she was first elected to the Senate in 1990 at the age of 27.

"And he was a true friend and someone that, the first day I got there I was sworn in and he took me by the hand and he said 'come on girl, I'm going to show you the ropes' and he did," said Tuck. "And so I've always appreciated his friendship and his family's support and certainly we miss him greatly. He was a true leader for this state."

Tuck was interviewed for WTOK's On the Record program, dealing with issues ranging from her conversion to the Republican Party to taxes. It will be broadcast Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on Channel 11.