Mississippi budget negotiators agreed Friday to fully fund two critical programs for public education, but they still haven't agreed on an overall $5 billion state spending plan for the year that begins July 1.
Another new development: Negotiators say an additional cigarette tax might be considered.
And, they want to give the state auditor permission to auction thousands of cartons of contraband cigarettes seized in a raid several weeks ago.
Lawmakers estimated the auction could bring the state $5 million to $10 million.
The additional excise tax of 22 cents a pack is proposed for inexpensive cigarettes made by companies that did not participate in Mississippi's 1997 settlement of a massive lawsuit against makers of premium cigarettes.
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