UPDATE: Barbour won't call special session

JACKSON – Gov. Haley Barbour says he won’t call lawmakers back for a special session to pass a state budget because a Medicaid agreement reached by House and Senate negotiators prevents him from making spending reductions in the program.

The lawmakers’ agreement includes a hospital tax that begins at $60 million, but could increase to $90 million when the state’s share of the federal stimulus runs out in 2010. The agreement also prohibits any cuts to providers below the rates currently in effect.

Barbour said he will fight the proposal. He said “there is no reason to call a special session when such enormous Medicaid issues remain unresolved.”

The Associated Press