Most lawmakers were left twiddling their thumbs Wednesday as a few budget negotiators swapped proposals and had closed-door discussions.
A few members of the House and Senate held out hope that the $3.8 billion budget will be finished and the legislative session will end.
The three-month gathering is in its third day of overtime, and some legislators worry that budget talks will remain stalled.
The session is set to end at midnight Wednesday unless both chambers agree to an extension.
Long-time lawmakers say they can never remember ending a regular session without approving a spending plan for state government.
If that happens, Gov. Haley Barbour will call lawmakers back for a special session sometime before the new state budget year starts on July 1.
Talks have stalled in a dispute over how much money should go to elementary and secondary education versus how much should go to other state functions such as Medicaid and prisons.