McCoy: State Should Support Business

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Rep. Billy McCoy reassured a business audience in Meridian that discussions had been held that will lead the next legislature in becoming business-friendly.

"What could we do as a government to assist our business leaders in convincing them that we have an opportunity for you to exist here again with business, industry or the professions? I keep naming everything, not just industry, to allow our business leaders to expect to make a profit. They must expect that they can make a profit," said McCoy. "If they do that, our citizens will be employed."

While McCoy was not specific in his speech to the East Mississippi Business Development Center, he was openly frank during an interview later with WTOK.

For example, he commented on the projection by many that a tax increase cannot be avoided next year.

"What I can say, emphatically, I do not expect a tax increase from the 2004 legislature. Period," McCoy said.

The Democrat then explained why he does not believe more state income will be necessary.

"We feel confident with the current upturn in the national economy and the state's economy, we fully expect to move back toward the normal growth rate that we've experienced, not an accelerated but a steady normal growth rate, each year and we will be able within the available revenue sources that we have to do the things that are necessary for the essential services of government," McCoy said.

McCoy is currently chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He has been in the state legislature since 1980.

The full "On the Record" interview may be seen Sunday, Dec. 14. at 5:30 p.m.