Legislators look ahead to the second special session

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT)-- As Alabama lawmakers prepare for next week's special session, those we spoke with say it's about finding true budget reforms, not just temporary fixes to the General Fund.

This special session, legislators know their job is to pass a budget to combat the $200 million General Fund shortfall.  Governor Robert Bentley recently released his call to session, detailing what he'd like to see in a budget plan.

Legislators we spoke with tell us they're expecting a combination of bills on the floor. They'll likely deal with cuts, revenue raising, and unearmarking.

Representative Mac McCutcheon plans to carry the governor's unearmarking bill once it gets out of committee. He also plans to carry one other bill that would create a committee to study agencies receiving state funds.

"Seeing if there's ways we can be more efficient in spending taxpayer dollars as we move forward," he explained.

Legislators also expect a plan to move money from the Education Trust Fund's proration prevention savings to the General Fund, and "back-fill" that loss another way. Representative Terri Collins, who, is the chair of the Education Policy Committee, said, "We're wanting to share some of that, we want to be a part of the solution for the general fund." She adds, a goal is getting more growth revenue into the General Fund, like what's going on with the unanimously-approved Education Trust Fund.

But whatever bills end up making the cut next week, "The problem is going to be finding a package that everyone can agree on," she said.

The hope now is that crunch time will mean more unity.

"I will be really upset if I have to come home from this special session without a budget," said Rep. McCutcheon.

Senator Arthur Orr remains positive. "I would not think we would exceed that deadline and we will have a budget in place well in advance of that October 1st date when we begin our new fiscal year," he commented.