In many years the budget fight has been a lot longer - even going into special session and bumping up to the start of the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.
At one point, it looked as if legislators were heading toward another long budget battle. After all, Gov. Haley Barbour voiced strong criticism of the level of spending being proposed by the House. But it did not appear the House had any intent of backing down.
Plus, Barbour appears to be running for president, and his candidacy, suffering from name identification, might have received a shot in the arm in the Republican primaries by a protracted fight where he was viewed as holding the line on spending.
That's not to say the governor would hold up the budget for political motivations. But it is to say it is easier for a person to hold his position in an intense standoff if politics is on his side. The governor is fond of saying good policy makes for good politics.
But the fight was not protracted. Last week House and Senate negotiators reached a budget accord that has now been approved by both chambers of the Legislature. The governor, while he has not signed the budget bills, has not voiced any objections.
It is important to note that throughout the budget negotiations, the Appropriations committee chairs - Johnny Stringer, D-Montrose, in the House and Doug Davis, R-Hernando, in the Senate - maintained an unusually cordial tone.
Davis is new as the Appropriations chair - replacing Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, who is now serving in the U.S. Congress. It appears that Davis and Stringer have a genuine respect for each other.
In the end, the budget agreement of $5.498 billion is $72.4 million less than what the House proposed, $51.2 million more than what the governor offered and $7.2 million more than the Senate proposed. The numbers, supplied by Davis, were based on last proposals made by Barbour, Stringer and Davis.
A key to the agreement was being able to resolve the issues on funding for kindergarten through 12th grade education.
There was a consensus going into the session that a goal for education would be level funding in what is another difficult budget year as the state economy continues to sputter and lag behind the national recovery.
But Barbour, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and Davis originally offered a plan to include $65 million of the federal Jobs money the districts received to help offset budget cuts for this year as part of the level funding for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The position of the House leadership was that the federal money should not be counted as part of the level funding amount.
Eventually a majority of House and Senate members - both Democrat and Republican - agreed with the House leadership.
The efforts of Nancy Loome, executive director of the Parents' Campaign, a grassroots public education advocacy group, was instrumental in building support for the House and Senate votes in favor of not counting the federal funds as part of the level funding amount.
It also was key that educators from Republican strongholds, such as DeSoto County, spoke forcefully in favor of the need for the higher amount of funding for education.
In the end, the agreement passed by the Legislature reduces the amount of education funding about $15 million.
But as Stringer said, "That's a lot less than $65 million."
In other words, the federal funds will not count as part of the state funds school districts receive to arrive at that total budget of $2.23 billion.
Davis and the Senate leadership also signed off on the position of the House and Senate majorities to provide level funding for the community colleges and more funding for the Department of Mental Health than it received for the current year.
Reaching agreement on those issues resulted in the compromise.
Interestingly, the budget, like all for at least the past 10 years, relied heavily on one-time money. Using the definition of one-time money Barbour originally used in 2003 when he first ran for governor and criticized the practice of using one-time money for recurring expenses, the budget has more than $500 million in one-time funds plugging budget holes.
But the Legislature and the governor also leave more than $200 million reserves for the 2012 Legislature.
Such is the budget agreement approved this week by the Mississippi Legislature.
Bobby Harrison is the Daily Journal's capitol bureau chief. Contact him at email@example.com or call (601) 353-3119.