The Sun Herald, 2/19/9

Mississippi lawmakers are pushing ahead with budget writing, even though officials still can’t say what effect the federal stimulus package will have on state spending.

The Senate approved the first draft of several budget bills Thursday, two days after similar action in the House.

But one Senate leader said the current budget numbers are so uncertain, they’re nearly meaningless.

“These bills might just as well be written in hieroglyphics because any numbers I have before you today most probably will change,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Alan Nunnelee said.

Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, told his colleagues many unanswered questions remain, as several weeks are left in the budget-writing process.