Barbour on Tough Economic Times

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

Gov. Haley Barbour met with reporters Friday to talk about how Mississippi can weather the economic storm bearing down on the nation. . He also gave his thoughts about the next four years.

"We have things that we disagree about, but everybody, every right-thinking American hopes he succeeds," said Barbour.

Barbour said he would not nit pick the president-elect as he put together his cabinet and administration, but did say he will be praying he succeeds.

Barbour will watch closely Barack Obama's selections for secretaries of homeland security and housing, because those positions will affect the state's effort to rebuild the coast.

"Now we go forward," said the governor.

That will be the case for the Republican Party, as well as the state, as hard economic conditions take effect.

"Some people are going to lose their jobs," said Barbour. "Some plants are going to close. Some companies are going to cut back because there's less demand in the economy."

That's no more true than in the automobile industry. But even so, the governor says Toyota and its suppliers are still building despite past delays.

"We're in the middle of a tough budget year," said Barbour.

Barbour says state revenue is down and will continue to drop for possibly the next three to four years. He will recommend budget cuts in certain areas and ask the state to keep spending to a minimum.

"I will absolutely not preside over our digging ourselves back into a $720 million budget hole like there was when I came here," said Barbour.

The state has a $370 million dollar rainy day fund filled by the legislature last session. How long it lasts in tough economic times is anyone's guess.

Barbour said, so far, net job losses are not as bad as he expected.

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