Gov. Bentley: Fiscal Year 2016 will start with a budget, expects no surprises in upcoming special session

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - During a stop in Huntsville over the weekend, Governor Robert Bentley took time to address a few topics regarding the upcoming special session.  It's state lawmakers' final push to pass a budget before October 1, 2016, the start of the new fiscal year.

WHNT News 19 asked Governor Bentley directly: "Do you think we'll go into fiscal year 2016 with a budget? "

"Yes," he replied.

Bentley said operating without one would be devastating.

"Government would be totally shut down," Bentley said. "We could not write checks, everything, we wouldn't have guards to guard the prisoners; we have to have a budget."

When will legislators meet to iron this out, though?

"It will probably be sometime in September, we just haven't set a date yet," Bentley said.

Governor Bentley stands by his reasoning for surprising the state's lawmakers with August's special session date - earlier than they may have expected.

"The reason was to keep some special interest, especially the gambling interest, to allow them time to gear up and create more havoc that what they have already," Bentley explained.

Speaking of gambling, where could this issue fall in Fiscal Year 2016?

"I'm not opposed to people's right to vote on that, I just don't want that as part of the solution because gambling adds no money whatsoever to the 2016 budget," Bentley said. "There is no way that we can get any gambling money into the 2016 budget even if it were passed."

The governor also expresses his interest in combining the passed state education budget and the failed general fund budget. Bentley believes this would be a successful solution without hurting the classrooms.

"We're not going to hurt education.  That's why we're trying to back fill education," Bentley said. "If we move that tax over, we're trying to back fill education with some other revenue."