Bill Said to Help the General Fund Budget is Discarded

Republicans in the Alabama House are backing off proposals to furlough state employees for two days and suspend longevity bonuses for a year. Both ideas were considered to help the General Fund budget but, Speaker Mike Hubbard said Thursday, those proposals aren't needed since a change was made to a cigarette tax bill. The proposals drew criticisms from Democrats who say they're pleased to see the ideas dropped. Representative John Knight of Montgomery says the state shouldn't balance the budget on the backs of state employees. The two proposals would have raised about $8 million. Hubbard says he, too, is pleased that the benefits will remain. The proposed cigarette tax increase will raise the tax by 25 cents per pack. An amendment to the bill also reduces a wholesaler discount and raises another $6 million.