The Sun Herald, 1/4/9

Lawmakers return to Jackson on Tuesday for the 2009 legislative session, but they’ll be dealing with a tight budget some Coast legislators worry might monkey with their plans for Hurricane Katrina recovery projects and tax breaks.

They’ll gavel in Tuesday at the Old Capitol, where renovations were recently completed to fix damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2006 lawmakers appropriated $14.2 million to restore the former statehouse, which opened in 1839 and was used in that capacity until 1903, according to the Mississippi Department of Archives & History.

Although they’ll be in unfamiliar surroundings the first day, they’ll argue over many of the same issues as they have the last several sessions. A tobacco tax will surface and though it is expected to pass, lawmakers will argue over what to do with the revenue. They’ll also wrestle with ways to fund recurring shortfalls in Medicaid that amounted to $90 million last year.