Former Lawmakers Push Unity For Results - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/04/05

Former Lawmakers Push Unity For Results

These days former state representative Les Barnett of D'Iberville tends to his family's furniture business. But for ten years Barnett helped shape Mississippi's business. And he says while disagreement and debate are part of the game, unity must prevail.

"If we're not together, we lose. We lose as a state because obviously you've heard rumors coming out about the taxes on gaming, plus many other issues. I really feel like we have to stick together, we have to," Barnett says.

Former state senator Bob Usey says talk of raising casino taxes requires the Coast delegation to stick together in what could be a nasty fight.

"The casino tax is very important and I'm afraid that the legislature and even the Governor may be looking at shifting some of this casino tax into the state coffers."

Whatever lawmakers face, the decisions ahead won't be easy with a deficit adding up in the millions.

"So the governor has called, in my understanding, for a five percent cut in various budgets and that could send a lot of people looking for additional monies," says Usey.

Barnett adds, "It looks like gloom and doom but I think what they're gonna have to do is actually belly up to the table. In my opinion, I think it's gonna take some cuts."

And Barnett says that's never a popular choice.

"You can't always do what's popular. You have to do what's right and sometimes those two things are at the opposite ends of the scale."

byMarcia Hill

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