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Musgrove: Live within your means

By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
March 6, 2001
WAYNESBORO State government must live within its means, set priorities and focus in on them. That is what Gov. Ronnie Musgrove says it will take to move Mississippi off the bottom of national lists.
Musgrove was in Waynesboro Monday night to address members of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce during an annual banquet.
Those priorities, according to the governor, include education, health care, good jobs and safe schools.
For Musgrove, education is the place to start when the goal is attracting high-tech jobs.
Musgrove believes his promised teacher pay raise is a critical first step in improving education by paying the teachers more, and increasing their accountability.
He said his pay raise plan will move Mississippi teachers up from 49th in the nation to 19th. The governor also said by the end of 2002, all public school classrooms in Mississippi will have at least one computer that can log on to the Internet.
During his address at the Waynesboro City Auditorium, Musgrove talked about convincing the state's young people to stay in Mississippi.
He said landing the Nissan plant in Madison County is a start, noting that the spin-offs from this venture will create as many as 30,000 new jobs.
Though he declined to go into detail, Musgrove referred to recent talk that the Mississippi Gulf Coast may one day become the home of the New Orleans Saints.
Musgrove started his address by reviewing his rural beginnings, growing up near Batesville. He had high praise for his top economic developer, J.C. Burns, who he said could help rural counties like those in East Mississippi grow and compete.
Part of the strategy for small communities involves improved infrastructure and Internet accessibility.
In talking about the state's image, the governor referred to the April 17 election when Mississippians will decide whether to change the state flag and remove the Confederate cross bars.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at sswogetinsky@themeridianstar.com.

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