Mississippi lawmakers to return in late April to complete budget

After talking about a hiatus nearly all week and turning down the idea multiple times, lawmakers voted Thursday to extend the session by 30 days, to go home early next week and return in late April to pass the 2011 fiscal budget.

In doing so, leading House and Senate budget writers reached an agreement to spend roughly $5.5 billion next fiscal year, about $500 million less than what was originally appropriated for the current budget.

The session extension should not cost taxpayers additional dollars because lawmakers have banked several days resulting from bad weather, plumbing issues and skipping out on Friday work twice.

They’ll also save a few days by going home before April 3, the regularly scheduled end of session.

The session now will end May 3.