Mississippi Senate OKs early draft of budget bills; deadline for spending plan is late March

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JACKSON, Mississippi — The Mississippi Senate has approved an early draft of part of the state budget. But there's much more work to be done.

Senators on Monday passed more than 50 budget bills, sending those to the House for more work.

The House took similar action on a different set of budget bills last week.

The two chambers have a deadline in late March to agree on a spending plan for fiscal 2016, which begins July 1.

The budget is expected to be about $6.2 billion, slightly higher than spending during the current year.

Teachers are expected to receive the second year of a pay raise.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Eugene "Buck" Clarke, a Republican from Hollandale, says it is too soon to know whether other state employees will get a raise.

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