UPDATE: Mississippi lawmakers: Hospital tax won't be used

JACKSON – Top Mississippi lawmakers have agreed to write a state budget without using a hospital tax to help fund Medicaid.

The decision came after negotiators met Wednesday to discuss Medicaid, the government health program for the needy.

Gov. Haley Barbour has urged legislators to restructure and revive a tax hospitals paid for years to help fund Medicaid. The federal government told Mississippi to stop using the tax in 2005.

Barbour says the Medicaid has a $90 million shortfall.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Johnny Stringer says Mississippi is receiving enough federal stimulus money to cover the shortfall for the year beginning July 1. Senate Appropriations Chairman Alan Nunnelee says other agencies’ budgets might suffer.

The Associated Press

Click video to hear audio