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Barbour Delivers Final Address To Legislature

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 04 Jan 2012 07:11pm | comments

With six days left in office, Governor Haley Barbour delivers what could be his last speech to members of the Mississippi legislature. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that Barbour had advice and a few policy goals for the law makers.

The 174 Representatives and Senators, as well as some state wide elected officials, packed into the House chamber in Jackson to listen to a farewell address by out-going Governor Haley Barbour.

Barbour cautioned lawmakers to keep taxes low, regulations light and to be cordial to each other during the legislative process.

"To be a good legislator, be a legislator that gets all the facts before you vote. It takes patience. Not only patient in determining your policy and your votes, I hope you will be patient with your colleagues," Barbour said.

Barbour also gave lawmakers a list of policy goals he would like to see accomplished....such as compelling educational entities to spend their reserves, and finding a way to collect currently uncollected sales tax on items sold on the Internet, which federal law currently prohibits.

"It is past time that our brick and mortar merchants on main street and in our shopping centers get a level playing field with Amazon and the Internet. That they get fair treatment for paying our taxes," Barbour said.

While many lawmakers praised Barbour's farewell address, not all in attendance agree with Barbour's goals.

Eric Clark, the director of the Mississippi Community College Board, says colleges are running tight budgets and should not be forced to use their reserves.

"So we have to have fund balances to be ready to make payroll and to pay all the expenses of the colleges if there are shortfalls that are unexpected," Clark said.

Ron Aldridge with the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a business advocacy group,  says it would be a burden on businesses to keep track of different tax rates across the country.

"Our position is, right now, you have to work out the mechanics of how it can be easy for a small business to take care of all of those possible sales and still get by," Aldridge said.

Barbour will have little say over what legislation gets through the capitol...his second term as governor ends at noon on Tuesday.

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