At the risk of a state government shutdown, the Alabama House Ways and Means Committee took on Governor Robert Bentley’s tax increases in today’s special session.
The House subcommittee, like a house on fire, went at a rapid pace, passing eight revenue bills today.
“The House I think has made some very good progress today,” says Bentley.
They passed the 25 cent tax increase on a pack of cigarettes, the 0.5% increase on car rentals and the $8.00 increase on car title fees. In all, the new revenue bills would add up to $130 million in new taxes and fees. But Bentley says, it’s not enough.
“This amount of money though, I do not believe, will be adequate to properly fund our budget, but it’s a step in the right direction,” says Bentley.
Bentley’s calling for another $85 million dollars, or threatens more closures of state-run offices.
“They’re going to have to come with some more revenue from some source. And we’ll just have to wait and see what that revenue is.”
The National Guard, DMV’s, and state parks are possibly on the chopping block. Bentley says he doesn’t think the Senate will pass much more than what the House already has. He says in the end, they have to fundamentally change the way they budget.
“This is not a long term solution, what we’re doing is just filling the hole and we’re doing the same thing we’ve done for the last 70 years, which is disappointing, but we do have to have a budget and so we’ll just have to see what comes out of that.”
At the end of the day, the House subcommittee passed the $1.7 billion General Fund budget with the new taxes and fees. It will be brought before the full House Tomorrow. If they pass it, the budget will go on to a Senate subcommittee.