By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, August 11, the 2015 Alabama Legislative Special session ended and there is still not a State General Fund (SGF) budget.
Reactions from legislators varied as they went to social media to explain to their friends and supporters what just happened in Montgomery.
State Senator Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) said, “By now you’ve likely heard that the “first” special session concluded today. Twice, now, the Senate has done its constitutional duty and passed a budget – and without raising taxes! In my opinion the easy way out is to raise $300 million in taxes on the people of Alabama and go home. But there is actually a surplus in Montgomery right now…..and I remain committed to finding a real solution that includes structural reform of our budgeting process.”
Sen. Williams continued, “In the midst of it all we did accomplish a number of worthwhile items. Most notably, the Legislature sent a number of bills to Governor Bentley for his signature that will help eliminate tax fraud and streamline government operations. These bills will result in approximately $40 million in savings. Much work remains to find a solution to the General Fund budget challenge, but we are closer to the goal line than we were a few weeks ago.”
State Senator Shay Shelnut (R-Trussville) said, “The Special Session concluded today. Twice, now, the Senate has done its constitutional duty and passed a budget – and without raising taxes. The easy way out is to raise $300 million in taxes on the people of Alabama and go home. But I remain committed to finding a real solution that includes structural reform of our budgeting process.”
Sen. Harri Anne Smith (I-Slocumb) wrote, “I am willing to work hard to find a solution, because I know that a lot of you depend on me to find one. I can’t believe that my State, that I love, would make it’s people worry about their healthcare, mental health programs, jobs, the court system, our Attorney General’s Office, Law Enforcement and the list goes on….It is cruel and I am ashamed to be a part of it. That is why I am letting you know that I am unhappy and I want answers……something is going on and only the leadership can answer the question “Why are we where we are tonight?” House and Senate leadership… Put your personal agenda aside and start communicating. If you communicate, you will find that there are elected officials who care about this State and the people they serve and want to move forward. Please pray for your State and please keep me in your prayers….I can’t sleep because I am worried about you. I love you all and I am sorry that you are having to worry about this. God Bless, Harri Anne.”
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said on Twitter, “We must have fair taxes & fundamentally change the way we budget in AL.”
Everyone is now waiting for Gov. Bentley to decide when the next Special Session might be.