MEPC aims to better Mississippi - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

MEPC aims to better Mississippi

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

If you ask Ed Sivak, director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center, the potential is there, but it's going to take work.

"People want to do things about making sure there's high quality education in their communities. People want to do things about promoting healthy communities and people want to do things so that we can have the type of Mississippi that we all want for our children," said Sivak.

As part of the center's annual conference, public, private and nonprofit leaders from across the state were in downtown Jackson Friday to get a better understanding of what challenges Mississippi families and workers are facing.

From limited resources to a political landscape about to change in Mississippi, Sivak says keeping a focus on opportunities like positioning the state as a competitive workforce and ensuring more economic security is vital for the state's overall success.

"At the end of the day we're all going to have to work together to identify strategies and work on them together so that we can make all of these things a reality," said Sivak.

Putting those strategies in place will require another strategy in overcoming what state economist Darrin Webb says is the biggest challenge, an economic slump.

"The economy is in a technical recovery, but we're certainly not recovered. We're growing at a very slow pace. We have been growing at a slow pace since this recovery began and as a consequence we have really not regained all the economic activity that was lost during the great recession," said Webb.

Webb says slow growth is indeed still growth, but don't expect the state's economy to instantly turn around. Budgets across the state will continue to be tight for at least the next few years. For Sivak, it means having to work harder.

"What we need to do is take a balanced approach which includes raising revenues so that we can build the public structures and allow opportunity for all Mississippians," said Sivak.

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