October 21, 2009 9:46:00 AM
"This recession will be long and deep."
These dreaded yet honest words were spoken to the members of the Columbus Rotary Club by Mississippi Lt. Governor Phil Bryant on Tuesday. Around 75 members attended the luncheon to hear the guest speaker elaborate on the local and statewide economy.
Bryant said the economic question most asked of him is, "When and how can we recover?" His response included options that involves changes in thought and process. Last year with the development of Mississippi''s "rainy day" fund, Bryant said he and his staff managed to accumulate more than $300 million by setting back 2 percent of the state''s revenue. That money has been used strategically throughout this year to chip away at state debt and will continue to be used in that manner for years to come, he said.
According to Bryant, the state of Mississippi is showing audacious losses, including a budget shortage of $76 million for this fiscal year. While this is a staggering number, he assured members it pales in comparison to some states, most notably California, which is suffering from some of the most dismal economic numbers in the state''s history.
He also touched on other issues including his disdain for the trend of voting extensions. "Election Day is the most coveted day in a democratic society," said Bryant, "and the thought of extending it to weeks, months even, creates too much room for error and foul play."
Another question presented to him, at the humor of the members, was the possibility of yet another gas tax. He calmly responded, "I assure you that there is nothing in the works of our legislature to incorporate any additional gas taxes."
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