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Reeves pessimistic on short-term economic recovery

JACKSON — Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves yesterday said state revenue in fiscal year 2013 would not increase significantly, reflecting the financial difficulties Mississippi’s economy may experience in the next several fiscal years.

“Economic recovery hasn’t hit Main Street, and Mississippi families and businesses continue to struggle,” Reeves said. “The economic outlook for the state reflects these challenges, and state agencies will have to continue to learn to be more efficient with less money.”

State economist Darrin Webb presented his economic outlook for Mississippi in a legislative briefing yesterday at the Capitol. While 2011 ended on a strong note, Webb warned economic growth would likely slow in the coming months.

The Mississippi Index of Leading Economic Indicators continues to underperform and indicates economic recovery is weak and vulnerable, Webb reported in his presentation. Forty-six counties saw employment levels decline over the past year.

As the Legislature begins to create a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, senators and representatives will need to carefully consider the state’s priorities and goals to improve the outlook, Reeves said.

“No area of the budget is immune from scrutiny, however we will have to find ways to support education and job creation efforts to ensure Mississippi heads in the right direction,” Reeves said.

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