Mississippi lawmakers are working on early versions of budget bills. Final negotiations are weeks away.
They're deciding how to spend tax dollars during fiscal 2015, which starts July 1.
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee proposes $5.9 billion in state spending. Gov. Phil Bryant proposes $6.1 billion.
During early stages of budget writing, the governor has more flexibility to make assumptions about how much money the state will collect for such things as lawsuit settlements. Lawmakers are supposed to limit themselves to sources of money that are more firmly guaranteed.
House and Senate negotiators have until late March to agree on budget details and to send those for votes in both chambers.
A teacher pay raise plan that passed the House is awaiting consideration in the Senate.
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