When lawmakers return to Montgomery next week, “We’ve got to pass a budget regardless what we pass, we need to pass something.”
Lawmakers have already passed the state’s education trust fund, the larger of the two budgets, but have been unable to come up with a spending plan that resolves a 300 million dollar shortfall in the general fund budget. Senator Trip Pittman says a solution may have been worked out. “We’ve gotten as close as we’ve been to formulating a plan that I think we can both pass and then hopefully the governor will sign it and if he doesn’t we will have to look at the other option which will be to override his veto.”
State representative Steve McMillan says revenue measures are now being discussed that haven’t been in previous sessions. “I feel like there are some people now that are realizing that we are down to the hard-core decision-making and some things have got to be done. Some things that maybe a lot of us would prefer not to have to do. We are in a situation now where we have got to take some action.”
State agencies are preparing for massive cuts, closings and shutting down essential services. Pittman says regardless of what happens in the special session leaner days are ahead and there is only one answer to the problem. “Let’s manage our way through this problem and quit crying and screaming that the sky is falling. Let’s act like grown-ups, let’s deal with the problem and manage the money that we have.”
The last time the state came this close to starting another fiscal year without a budget in place was in the 70’s.