State funds expiring; budget plan stalled

Car-tag costs are in danger of rising. Salaries for teachers and state workers are up in the air. And Medicaid, the health-care program that serves hundreds of thousands of Mississippians, faces an expiration date at the end of the month.

Those are some of the consequences if lawmakers and Gov. Haley Barbour can’t agree on a state spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The regular legislative session ended early Thursday with no budget, and Barbour said he will schedule a special session when all sides have reached an agreement.

He would not speculate on when that would occur, but he told reporters he doesn’t believe the House and Senate are “anywhere close to an agreement.” House leaders are blaming him for botching a compromise with the Senate, and Speaker Billy McCoy said in a news release he is not optimistic about the prospects of a special session producing results.