Mississippi budget negotiations stalled

Published 9:16 pm Thursday, May 14, 2009

Legislators working on a Mississippi spending plan for coming fiscal year are at an impasse.

The main sticking point is $60 million in stimulus money the Senate wants to put in reserve for 2011.

House Appropriations Chairman Johnny Stringer says holding back that money would force cuts to numerous state agencies, including the Highway Patrol, education and mental health. Stringer also says he doesn’t think the state can legally put the stimulus in reserve.

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Senate Appropriations Chairman Alan Nunnelee says he’s willing to make cuts to have the reserve in 2011, when the state will face larger budget issues.

The 2009 session is in recess until May 26, when lawmakers return to finish a budget for the year that starts July 1.