MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Our legislature just wasted time and our money on a special session that produced absolutely nothing. Some legislators are saying that they could even be farther apart on how to deal with the General Fund shortfall.
Here is what we got for the estimated $400,000 that we spent on this special session:
Nothing for the first three weeks as the legislature recessed to get prepared. Once prepared the House passed a General Fund Budget that would have gutted the state Medicaid program. This probably would have caused the state to not meet federal minimum standards and would have meant the whole program would have collapsed.
The Senate, in their wisdom, shot down the House version and passed their own General Fund Budget. A version that was almost identical to the one they passed at the end of the regular session, a budget that all involved had said was not worthy of being sent up, and one that the Governor quickly vetoed.
Not to worry, the House quickly shot that budget down.
They are back where they were at the end of the regular session and time is running out on this budget year. New revenue streams are inevitable. The Governor has given the Legislature lots of options.
The cigarette tax is still the biggest no brainer to me, but the tobacco lobby has a much louder voice and the legislature seems to be listening to them.
There are a few legislators that have shown the political courage to support new revenues. Unless more can muster up that courage we could be in for a repeat performance in the next special session.