Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said the state will not immediately begin collecting a 1% tax on gross charges by acute-care hospitals and instead will use $45 million in federal aid related to Hurricane Katrina to help offset a Medicaid shortfall. In a letter to legislative leaders, Barbour said the state will suspend the tax until April 2007. "This will allow the Legislature time to address the $90 million funding shortfall Medicaid will face on a recurring, annual basis," Barbour said. The Mississippi Hospital Association, which sued in late September to halt the tax, asked a Hinds County Chancery Court judge to issue an order stipulating that the state adhere to the latest plan. The MHA contends that only the Legislature has the authority to levy taxes under Mississippi's Constitution. In a statement, the association said it was pleased Barbour "has decided to let the Legislature decide this issue."