Tough Choices Ahead for Lawmakers

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With only two weeks to go in the regular legislative session, major problems remain to be solved. Rep. Greg Snowden, a Republican, said some will be, some will not. He cited tort reform as an example.

"My own personal opinion is we're not going to see any in the regular session. The House and Senate are too far apart in what would be considered in a bill that would be filed," Snowden said. "I hope I'm wrong about that but I think it's dead for the regular session. We're going to have a special session."

He said education is a different matter.

"Well, funding for education is and always is our top priority. We spend more than 62 percent of our budget on education. I believe education will be funded to the highest level possible. Whether or not that's as much as we would otherwise like to be able to do, that remains to be seen," said Snowden.

Newscenter 11 asked if there's a problem between House Speaker Billy McCoy and Gov. Haley Barbour.

"Well, I don't think it's any secret they're not on the same page," said Snowden. "At this point they seem to have different ideas about how the budgetary process should be resolved, but you know, that's what the conference process is about."

Snowden said for four years the state has been spending more money than it has been taking in and some degree of corrective action is essential.

"The governor said today at lunch that if anyone has a popular solution to the problem, you know right off it's not a solution. There will not be a popular means to get out of this. There are going to be difficult decisions, painful decisions, some things I'm not going to like. Certainly some things house members, senators and the governor's not going to like. We're all going to have to come to the table, make some difficult choices to get ourselves back on track in a fiscally responsible way," Snowden said.

The legislature will continue to meet over the weekend in an effort to make those choices.