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Governor: Mississippi entering ‘sharp, painful’ recession



Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves in his May 1 Facebook live address. (Photo via video screen grab)
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Gov. Tate Reeves said Tuesday that Mississippi was entering a “sharp, painful” recession.

Reeves, speaking during his daily live update, referred to an estimated $1.2 billion tax revenue shortfall by midyear 2021 because of the COVID-19 crisis.

State economist Darren Webb provided the estimate to legislators of the Senate Appropriates Committee earlier Tuesday. By the end of June, Webb said he expects to see about $5.1 billion in collections for the year, a drop of $864 million from the projected revenues estimated in November 2019.

Webb also compared the state’s economy to what happened during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. The biggest difference was that the previous recession happened over nearly two years. Today’s economic picture was “basically just falling off the cliff in one quarter,” he said, adding that what’s happening now is “extremely deeper” than the previous recession.

Webb indicated that the federal funds flowing to Mississippians through increased unemployment benefits and the $1,200 stimulus payment has helped soften the blow somewhat, but he stressed that irreparable harm may have been done to many businesses who may never be able to make up two months of shutdowns and continued restrictions.

“A lot of what we lost can never be regained,” he said.

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