May 28, 2008
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- Two days down and three more to go if this special session of the legislature ends up being a "quickie" like everyone predicts. The Governor called the legislators back to Montgomery Tuesday after they ended their regular session without an Education Budget. That budget passed unanimously out of committee Wednesday morning. It's a budget with which lawmakers are familiar because they've seen before. There are a few changes from the one that passed out of committee during the regular session but nothing big enough to cause a lengthy debate.
One of the differences between the old proposal during the regular session and this new proposal is $5,000,000 will be taken away from Higher Ed and given to K-12 for transportation. That's in anticipation of the higher cost of fuel. That means Higher Ed will get $30,000,000 more if there is extra money in the budget.
The State School Superintendent says school districts now may be able to hire some of their teachers back. "I think it's a good budget. Our goal now before dark Saturday is to get it approved so we can get notices out and school boards can act and they can notify teachers that lost their jobs that they got a job again."
Other bills also passed in committees Wednesday. One would give a tax break to small businesses and its employees if that business provides health insurance for its workers who make less than 50-thousand dollars a year.
And, another one makes sure Alabama residents don't have to pay state income taxes on their federal rebate checks.