Lawmakers to Begin 2015 Budget Talks

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Jackson, Miss. Mississippi lawmakers are starting to plan for fiscal 2015, which begins July 1.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee holds public hearings Monday through Thursday at the Woolfolk building near the state Capitol. Agency directors will present spending requests for schools, highways, prisons, Medicaid and other services.

The Budget Committee chairman, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, says tax collections are increasing and lawmakers might allocate extra cash for projects that used to be financed with long-term debt, such as repairing state buildings.

House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson says he wants to increase spending for education, from kindergarten through universities. But he says the chances of fully funding the Mississippi Adequate Education Program are "slim to none." MAEP is a complex formula designed to give districts enough money to meet midlevel academic standards.