McCoy: Miss. budget deal should be quick

McCoy said an agreement in principle reached over the weekend was a huge step in negotations between the House and the Senate. The two chambers are trying to craft a spending plan for state agencies and programs for fiscal year 2010.

The agreement calls for a $60 million hospital tax that could increase to $90 million once the state stops receiving federal stimulus money in 2010. In return, the hospitals could save nearly $100 million by reversing previous budget cuts and prohibiting future ones, said Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, one of the negotiators.

Bryan said he and House Medicaid Chairman Dirk Dedeaux, D-Perkinston, signed the agreement.

Lawmakers have said the tax is needed to help cover the cost of Medicaid.

“It’s a huge step,” McCoy said during a telephone interview on Sunday. “We think it’s a reasonable compromise.”

Clarion Ledger
6/21/9