Budget Negotiators Reach Tentative Deal

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Officials say House and Senate negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on Mississippi's $5 billion budget.

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant says the budget took a lot of hard work but "it has been worth the fight."

The deal was reached after negotiators were able to compromise this past weekend on a hospital tax to help pay for Medicaid, a government funded health care program for the needy.

The tax agreement calls for a $60 million hospital tax that could increase to $90 million once the state stops receiving federal stimulus money in 2010.

Gov. Haley Barbour must convene legislators for a special session to pass budget bills and he has said he wouldn't do it until the two chambers agreed.

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