TODAY: Alabama legislators begin second special session on budget

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers are returning to Montgomery for their third attempt at approving a general fund budget.

The special session begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday evening.

Legislators have so far been unable to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of at least $200 million.

Gov. Robert Bentley is asking lawmakers to approve a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax and other tax increases to avoid cuts to state services. However, legislators have so far been resistant to his ideas, citing an opposition to tax increases.

Bentley in June vetoed a cut-filled budget that lawmakers approved in the regular session. A first special session also ended without a budget.

The lack of agreement means state agencies are without a spending plan for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

WHNT News 19 will have a crew in Montgomery to cover the special session.  Have an opinion about Alabama’s budget?  Contact your legislators.