- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi lawmakers are pushing forward early drafts of budget bills that are likely to change before a final deadline.

Proposals show it’s likely that the overall budget will shrink because tax collections continue to lag.

The budget-writing deadline is in late March, and the new year begins July 1.

Even as they work on the new year, lawmakers are filling gaps in the current budget. Some agencies could receive much less than they requested.

Medicaid seeks an additional $89 million to get through June 30. The House proposes $43 million, while the Senate proposes $40 million. Budget writers say Medicaid could push payments for some expenses into the new budget year.

Legislators are considering an additional $7.6 million that Treasurer Lynn Fitch requested for payments on the state’s long-term debt.

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