Legislature in final days as they try to hammer out budget

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 9:08 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There’s a lot of starting and stopping of work at the State Capitol.

That usually happens in these final days each year. But we wanted to give you an inside look on what’s keeping them there.

A lot of people have been recognized at the Capitol in recent days. There have been nearly as many recognitions as debates on bills this week.

“This is the true sausage making time of the year, where you’ve got us just going back and forth in rooms trying to get language that we feel comfortable with putting into the law books,” said Sen. Jeremy England.

Everyone we spoke with on and off camera says the budget is the elephant in the room and what they’re all waiting to address.

“Curiously, in a year that we have one of the largest surplus we’ve ever had, we’re fighting over the budget, you usually fight when you don’t have any money,” Rep. Robert Johnson, House minority leader. “We’re fighting because we have money... we’re fighting about supporting public education.”

We shared the Speaker earlier this week saying the House wants to put more money into education but not the MAEP formula.

“That frustrates me because you criticize a formula that you’ve never funded,” added Johnson.

“We prefer to fund fun teachers, fund classrooms and we believe that it’s best to do that earmarked, basically,” noted Rep. Jansen Owen.

At the end of the day, many members made this note.

“This normally happens at the end of a session, we’ll hang up the overall process, but I believe that we’ll be able to move through it very hopeful that we’ll be able to move through it in the next two days or so,” added Sen. Scott DeLano.

While many members were hopeful they’d finish in the next couple of days, others think their time could extend into early next week.

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