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It’s the Final Week of the Legislative Session and Lawmakers are Still Hammering Out a Plan

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 25 Mar 2011 04:00pm | comments
Mississippi State Capitol Building

This week marks the deadline for Mississippi lawmakers to approve a balanced budget for next fiscal year. But as MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports their task is even greater now that budget talks have reached an impasse.

Even as some lawmakers worked through the weekend the two sides still Can not agree on how much to spend on various agencies and programs. They include homestead exemption, mental health and K-12 public education. Democratic Representative Cecil Brown of Jackson, a top budget writer, says republican Governor Haley Barbour wants the House to fund the Mississippi Adequate Education program by raiding other educational programs including the teacher school supply fund.

"K-12 education has absorbed $300 million dollars in cuts over the last few years and we can’t cut anymore. We cut an additional $16 million last night but the house and senate have both voted on a K-12 education bill, a funding level for them. We've agreed on that number and he wants us to cut more and the conferees are not in a position to do that."

In a statement released by Governor Haley Barbour the House position on the budget spends too much. He says if Mississippi families planned their budgets like the House has done for the state, they would soon be bankrupt. If lawmakers cannot work out their differences this week the Governor could call for a special session. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.
Lawayne Childrey 

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