Mississippi Still Has Budget Problem

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No budget, no compromise in sight. In an increasingly bitter partisan atmosphere, Mississippi legislators ended their regular session this year without passing an annual state spending plan.

Other states have blown budget deadlines before. Some have stretched weeks or months into a fiscal year before resolving details.

Longtime legislators say this is a first in Mississippi, and it's unclear whether the Democrat-controlled House and Republican-dominated Senate can overcome significant differences before the budget year starts July 1.

Gov. Haley Barbour will call them back into special session, probably in May.

Longtime Wisconsin state Senator Mike Ellis says Mississippi lawmakers created a process problem, not a constitutional problem, by ending the regular session without a budget.

But with weeks left to work, Mississippi can still avoid joining the list of states with overdue budgets.