Barbour touts entrepreneurial alliance|[4/22/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 22, 2005

A new partnership among community colleges, universities and other state agencies is expected to bring together resources and training for entrepreneurs across the state.

Gov. Haley Barbour, speaking before about 225 attending the Rural Development Conference in Vicksburg Thursday, praised the program dubbed the Mississippi Entrepreneurial Alliance.

“This new alliance will give us a great way to work together to benefit all of Mississippi,” Barbour said.

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Nick Walters, state director of the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, announced the program as a way to bring together existing programs under a common network. He said it will enable entrepreneurs to get help from one source.

“This will allow them to concentrate on their business instead of looking for information,” Walters said.

He said that the USDA Rural Development agency will spend the next six months gathering information before launching the program in the fall.

Barbour also told the crowd that Mississippi is positioned to move forward because of the work of his administration on tort reform, work force training and opposing tax increases.

“We’re getting all that done so your community can better compete,” Barbour said.

In his two years since taking office, Barbour has been at odds with the leadership in the House of Representatives over funding the state’s budget. Barbour and other Republicans in the Senate have insisted on no tax increases.

Because of that and other disagreements about how to fund the state’s budget, this year’s legislative session ended without a spending plan for the next fiscal year that begins July 1. Barbour is expected to call a special session to deal with the budget.