Lawmakers report deal on $6.26B budget

House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement on most of a $6.26 billion state budget Saturday night, with increased spending for Medicaid, public schools, community colleges and universities in the coming year.

“Beyond that, nobody else is taking a sharp cut, and nobody’s getting a particularly big increase,” said House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville.

Frierson and Senate Appropriations Chairman Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, told fellow lawmakers early Saturday that after Medicaid and education, there was little extra money for other increases.

The $2.5 billion K-12 education budget, a $110 million increase, was already passed and signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant last week. While it’s the largest education budget in state history, it still falls $211 million short of the K-12 funding formula lawmakers are supposed to follow. Lawmakers said Saturday night that a push for a $2,500 raise for assistant teachers appeared dead.

ClarionLedger
3/29/15