Legislators Return to $5.5 Billion Budget Deal


A three-judge panel declared its preference for a Democrat-preferred redistricting map late last week, potentially lining up the Mississippi Republican Party as antagonists at a May 10 hearing in Jackson.

The Mississippi Legislature will return to Jackson tomorrow to reconvene its regular session, put on hold three weeks ago in anticipation of $187 million in additional federal stimulus funds. In the meantime, top lawmakers have come up with a $5.5 billion budget for the 2011 fiscal year that does not rely on those funds, which have yet to materialize reports The Sun Herald.

Legislators announced the budget proposal after business hours on Friday, having held behind-closed-doors meetings last week.

"It's not a budget that I'm proud of, but I'm very proud that we have a budget," Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo told The Sun Herald. "Just like families have been making cuts in their personal budgets in a down economy, the budget leaders in the Legislature have had to make some cuts."

Lawmakers are not clear if or when the U.S. Congress will approve the additional stimulus funds for the state; however, they have included a contingency plan to make use of some of the funds if they come through, setting aside $77 million for the 2012 budget year.


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