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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — The state auditor is investigating possible misuse of public funds in 80 of the state’s 82 counties.

But state Auditor Stacey Pickering says the possible misdeeds of a few should not hurt the public’s trust in sound financial management statewide.

Pickering said today the state’s jobs and financial outlook is the best it’s been in several years and continues to improve. He says while the state never will be able to fully fund every need, the current spending approach will allow state leaders to invest in education and other priorities.

“Our state’s economy is in great shape. Like every other state, we’ve got a large amount of debt but the good news is we are paying off more than we issue every year. Our leadership is working to reduce that debt, our budget is balanced and our economy is strong and very diversified across the state. I think Mississippi really is in the best shape it’s ever been in,” Pickering told the Columbus Rotary Club.

And he says the Golden Triangle’s industrial recruitment successes in the last eight years are a model for the state’s continued economic health.

“In five to 10 years, if we continue on the progress of attracting companies like Yokohama, Paccar, Eurocopter and others into Mississippi, Severstal like we have here in Lowndes County…by bringing high wages, good employment, and good opportunities to Mississippi, our economy will continue to do nothing but improve,” he added.

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