By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press
JACKSON — Mississippi budget writers have released their initial proposals. But they’re months away from deciding exactly how much the state will spend on education, health care and other services during fiscal 2014, which begins July 1.
There are significant differences between a plan drafted by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and a separate one by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
Lawmakers face an early April deadline to put a final budget on Bryant’s desk.
Experts expect Mississippi to collect just over $5 billion in revenue. Officials expand the budget by dipping into reserves and using money that’s available only one year at a time, such as lawsuit settlements.
Bryant proposes spending about $5.8 billion, slightly higher than the nearly $5.7 billion the state is spending this year. Legislators propose about $5.5 billion.