The Clarion-Ledger, 2/21/8

Implementing a hiring freeze and raiding a hurricane reserve fund are among the ways Mississippi lawmakers want to fund state agencies in a tight budget year.

But House and Senate leaders disagree over the funding mechanisms that cleared both chambers Wednesday. The differences must be worked out to determine how much can be spent on education, roads, health care and other needs.

Senate Bill 2912 cleared the floor with no objections. It would add about $306 million to the state budget for lawmakers to spend on agency requests, shortfalls and programs.

House Bill 609 would freeze hiring and equipment purchases at state agencies through June 2009.