Alabama lawmakers prepare for special session

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT)-- Alabama legislators are preparing to head into special session next week, starting on Monday August 3rd. That's when lawmakers tell WHNT committee members will begin looking at Governor Robert Bentley's proposal.

Governor Bentley had hinted at his proposal in early July, and this week unveiled a set of bills aimed at addressing the budget shortfall.

Senator Arthur Orr says one of the biggest challenges will be coming to a consensus next week.

"It's very difficult to raise taxes, for a lot of us," he commented.

And parts of Gov. Bentley's proposal involves tax increases, including a change to the tobacco tax that would, if passed as-is, levy a tax on vapor products and also up the cost of a pack of cigarettes by $0.25.

He has also included in the proposal plans to unearmark funds and using BP settlement funds to pay off debts.

Senator Orr says no matter what disagreements happen next week, their main job is to "pass a budget that adequately funds state government." But he cautions, it may take more than just one special session to do that.

"I think it's still possible we'll have to get into a second special session after this one," he said. "You've got several different divides in the Legislature right now."

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