State Budget Crunch

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Top officials say a tight state budget will influence everything legislators do in the three month session which begins Tuesday, January 4.

Mississippi lawmakers have already made one expensive commitment in the $3.8 billion budget for the fiscal year which begins July 1. Gov. Haley Barbour and the joint legislative budget committee have pledged to set aside more than $97 million to fund the final year of a five-year teacher pay raise plan.

During the upcoming session, the legislative panel also wants to reinstate coverage to about 50,000 Medicaid recipients who had been scheduled to be cut from the program under money saving changes approved last year.