By The Associated Press
JACKSON — Mississippi lawmakers are pushing forward with early proposals for the budget year that begins July 1.
The $5.5 billion spending plan will be about 1 percent bigger than it is now, with most of the increase going toward state employees’ retirement.
Education could receive slightly more money, with about $8 million going into a limited program for pre-kindergarten. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves wants to spend about $7.5 million to help schools hire armed police officers.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Herb Frierson said Wednesday that many agencies will receive less money than they’re requesting.
Fifty-four budget bills start in the House, and 54 start in the Senate. Each chamber passes its own, then they exchange bills for more work.
Lawmakers have an early April deadline to finish the fiscal 2014 budget.