The Clarion-Ledger, 7/2/8

A special session costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars resumes today with no cuts in Medicaid services and ongoing talks over how to pay for the health-care program.

According to a House lawmaker negotiating with Senate leaders, those talks now include modest increases in cigarette and hospital taxes and a reduction in income taxes.

“I am willing to consider their proposal if they’re willing to include a grocery tax reduction,” said State Rep. George Flaggs, a Democrat from Vicksburg who met with Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and House leaders Tuesday. “That way, all cards are on the table face up as it relates to resolving the Medicaid crisis and helping Mississippians economically.”

Bryant, a Republican who has so far blocked tobacco tax hikes, would not give details of the proposal he discussed with House leaders but said he favors cutting income taxes. A spokesman for Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, said he had no comment on the talks.