Lawmakers Begin Second Special Session
Alabama lawmakers are returning to Montgomery this week for their third attempt at approving a general fund budget, and they have less than a month to complete the job. Legislators have so far been unable to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of more than $200 million. Governor Robert Bentley is asking lawmakers to approve a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax and other tax increases to avoid cuts to state services. However, legislators have so far been resistant to his ideas, citing opposition to tax increases. In June, Bentley vetoed a budget full of cuts that lawmakers approved in the regular session. A first special session this summer also ended without a budget. The lack of agreement means state agencies are still without a spending plan for the fiscal year that begins October 1.