Miss. lawmakers recess session

Lawmakers are planning to return in May or June to decide on a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. They’re giving themselves more time to learn how federal stimulus dollars will affect the budget.

They are leaving the state Capitol with no agreements on raising cigarette or hospital taxes to help pay for state services. Key leaders are warning that if the issues aren’t resolved soon, car tag costs will rise and state agencies could see double-digit budget cuts.

Lawmakers also failed to agree on how much to raise hospital taxes to help pay for Medicaid, the health care program that serves around 600,000 Mississippians.

A bill that addressed the issue died as the Legislature adjourned, but House Medicaid Committee Chairman Dirk Dedeaux said the tax hike can be revived through other legislation when lawmakers return to the state Capitol.

Clarion-Ledger 4/1/9