Barbour Courts East Miss.

Gubernatorial hopeful Haley Barbour was back in Meridian Thursday for the third time this year, saying he wants to talk to real people about the problems Mississippi is facing.

"Meridian and east Mississippi are very important to my campaign and any campaign for governor," said Barbour. "It's an important part of the state. I'm here meeting people and trying to talk about issues."

Among those issues is Mississippi's financial straits. Barbour said people have asked him if taxes need to be raised to deal with that.

The former Washington lobbyist said he's dead-set against tax hikes. Barbour identifies the problem as overspending.

Barbour said the government is on a "spending binge", expelling $600 million more than it collected for the current fiscal year. He said the Mississippi Legislature passed a budget that it has no idea how to fund.

And Barbour said he believes the overall problem in Jackson is a lack of leadership from the governor's office.

Another candidate is seeking the Republican nomination, Mississippi attorney Mitch Tyner. The primary is Aug. 5.

Barbour joined NewsCenter 11 for a taping of the public affairs program, On the Record, scheduled to air Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on WTOK.