Democrats Push for State Employee Pay Raise

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Jackson, Miss.

Democrats in the Mississippi House say they'll keep trying to give all state employees at least a $1,000 pay raise in the coming year, even after several attempts were blocked Wednesday.

The Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Herb Frierson, says the state can't afford to do what the Democrats propose. It would cost nearly $39 million, and Frierson says money is tight.

Lawmakers are entering the final weeks of writing a $6 billion budget for fiscal 2015, which begins July 1.

Attorney General Jim Hood said Wednesday that lawsuit settlements are pumping an extra $64 million into the state budget.

Hood is sending nearly $53 million to the general fund, which is the largest part of the budget, and $11 million to the state employees' health insurance plan.