In the Senate, a deal crafted by senators was offered to the House, then withdrawn when the governor said no.
“It is my understanding the Senate offered a proposal and the House accepted it,” Flaggs said. “But then the Senate leaders took that offer to the governor and he rejected it. The Senate then reneged on its offer. “That leads me to believe the governor wants a special session because of his unwillingness to compromise.”
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The main sticking point is a plan supported by Gov. Haley Barbour and Senate Republicans to reserve $60 million in federal stimulus funds to protect the state against possible lower revenues in future years. House Democrats are requesting federal help to determine whether stimulus funds can legally be reserved.
Nunnelee also has said he supports a hospital tax increase as close to the $90-million hike proposed by him and Gov. Haley Barbour as he can get. The full Senate essentially voted for no tax increase on hospitals. And Nunnelee, using his power as Appropriations Committee chair, killed a bill that would have re-authorized the Division of Medicaid.
If the Legislature does not re-authorize the Division of Medicaid by July 1, it will cease to exist and Gov. Haley Barbour will not be able to run it by “executive order,” according to an official attorney general’s opinion.