Negotiators reach tentative budget deal

Published 9:18 pm Monday, June 22, 2009

Officials say House and Senate negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on Mississippi’s $5 billion budget.

Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant said “this budget has taken a lot of hard work and time but it has been worth the fight.”

The deal was reached after negotiators were able to compromise this past weekend on a hospital tax to help pay for Medicaid, a government funded health care program for the needy.

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The tax agreement calls for a $60 million hospital tax that could increase to $90 million once the state stops receiving federal stimulus money in 2010.

Gov. Haley Barbour must convene legislators for a special session to pass budget bills and he has said he wouldn’t do it until the two chambers agreed.