Lawmakers Waiting on Information for Budget

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

When Mississippi senators and representatives go back into session Apr. 20, they hope to have additional information.

Part of what they hope to know are details about the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages, part of the federal funding mechanism for Medicaid.

Sen. Videt Carmichael of Meridian, who represents District 33, explained that this number determines how much money won't need to be spent by the state.

"If we could keep that low, that will mean another $187 million or $188 million that we won't have to pay," said Carmichael. "So it's not like they're going to send us a check for that amount of money, but we can build that amount of money into our budget for other purposes."

If that figure does not come in, members of the House and Senate have agreed to make a budget with the money they know they have for certain.

"We have agreed with the House and Senate on $5.5 billion. That's total dollars, for next year's budget," Carmichael said.

That total is below the current budget.

"The previous year was around $6 billion, so you can see easily that that's $500 million short," said Carmichael. "So we know we are going to be that much less for the next fiscal year's budget."

Word has been circulating that Mississippi may receive more federal money, but Carmichael is cautious.

"There are rumors out there that we may get something similar to what we did last year, but you can't count on that," he said.

Carmichael says state agencies will likely see 8 to 12 percent less in their budgets.

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