As we all know, our state, just like the entire country, is facing challenging economic times. Over the past 3 years, I've worked closely with Governor Haley Barbour to make sure that we are responsible with spending of taxpayer dollars on our state budget.
We've funded priorities, but we've been careful not to spend money we don't have. Even during tough times, we've planned ahead, saved and filled millions into the rainy day fund.
We also announced a plan to revolutionize the way our state budget is handled. With the Smart Budget proposal, we'll bring real accountability to how the state spends your tax dollars. That's the right kind of conservative financial policy that I believe in, and that's the same approach I'll take as Governor.
Over the past 3 years, we've started to tackle tough issues like illegal immigration that have such a negative impact on our state's economy. People working here illegally take jobs from Mississippians, they don't pay taxes and they cost taxpayers money by using education and health care services. I will continue focusing on this issue because it is so important to the financial stability of our state.