Lawmakers Eye Budget Answers

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Mississippi lawmakers Tuesday slightly lowered the estimate of how much money the state can spend in the current budget year.

But leaders say that number might rise again in the next few months after they have a better handle on how Hurricane Katrina is affecting state tax collections.

Katrina hit Mississippi on August 29, almost two months into the fiscal year that started July first.

State economist Phil Pepper told members of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee that states such as Florida and South Carolina have seen an initial dip in revenues after hurricanes. That's usually followed by stronger tax collections as people start rebuilding.