Mississippi lawmakers moving into final budget weeks

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi lawmakers are moving into the final stages of writing a $5.5 billion state budget for fiscal 2014, which begins July 1.

At this point, the Senate is planning to spend about $20 million more than the House. The two chambers have until early April to agree on one set of figures.

Lawmakers are considering tax incentives that could reduce state revenue by millions of dollars. Some Democrats, in particular, say that could cause problems because money is already tight.

Funding for public schools is expected to be about the same in the coming year as it is this budget year.

No across-the-board pay raises are planned for state employees, but lawmakers plan to use tax dollars to cover the increased demand from the Public Employees Retirement System.