A top Mississippi budget writer says education funding is falling short because Medicaid is devouring a larger share of state money than it did a few years ago.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Herb Frierson recently sent a letter to teachers and education administrators around the state. The Republican says expanding Medicaid would create more uncertainty about funding for all levels of education, from kindergarten through universities.
But a Democrat who used to be a budget writer disputes that. Rep. Cecil Brown says education funding has suffered because of many financial choices, including corporate tax breaks.
Democrats want to expand Medicaid, as allowed under the health law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010.
Republicans say Mississippi can't afford the expansion, even with the federal government paying most of the cost.