JACKSON, Miss. -- Mississippi taxpayers are footing the majority of the bill for Gov. Haley Barbour’s two-week European trip, officials said.
Barbour was in Dublin, Ireland, on Tuesday where he was honored by the Trinity College University Philosophical Society for his role in Mississippi’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Barbour is also scheduled to meet with executives in Germany and Spain to discuss the possibility of their companies’ doing business in Mississippi.
Pete Smith, the governor's spokesman, couldn’t say on Tuesday how much the trip is costing taxpayers, because the total won’t be known until Barbour returns from overseas.
"Even in a time of national and international economic uncertainty, it is important that we continue to explore potential business opportunities and build relationships with European companies," Barbour said. "Mississippi is pro-business and pro-jobs, and has a great story to tell."
Barbour left for the two-week trip this past Saturday.
Now, before someone gets all upset and starts posting that he's creating jobs for Mississippi, let me say that I have no problem with the state paying for an economic development trip, if that is the legitimate reason (though I hope someone reviews the receipts).
Why I think this post is interesting is because of all the speculation of what Barbour may do in 2012, especially since The Washington Post blog last Friday put Barbour on the top 10 list of Republicans to watch. (Click here for FOLO's coverage of the post.)
A potential 2012 presidential contender visiting foreign dignitaries. Coincidence... I think not.