LIMESTONE COUNTY (WHNT) – The year 2015 had its share of struggles when it came to the Alabama Legislative sessions. The House, Senate, and Governor could not come to an agreement for a state budget during one regular session and two special sessions. Representative Mac McCutcheon stopped by WHNT News 19 to discuss what he expects to happen at this year’s session.
The biggest struggle last session was not being able to agree on what needed to be done to find revenue for the budget. “You’ve got 105 Representatives in the House and they all have their own ideas. They all have a certain agenda and they represent certain people. And when you bring all those ideas, thoughts and agendas together, you’re going to have differences of opinion. And the biggest issue that we have right now is that we have a general fund budget that is in need of revenue, and we’ve got to find a way to continue to serve the people of Alabama.” explains McCutcheon.
Are Alabamians destined to witness the same struggles, or will this session be smoother? Rep. Mac McCutcheon feels that “We jumped over a huge hurdle when we were able to get a little bit of revenue passed which one of those important pieces of revenue was the use tax when we made the transfer from the education budget into the general fund. It’s added a growth revenue into the general fund which was desperately needed. So that little piece of the puzzle was an important piece in my opinion, moving us into this next phase that we’re in now. We’ve got to…a lot of the discussions and the debates which became every heated and we were in a posture where we couldn’t even come to an agreement in the regular session and had to have two special sessions. All of those arguments, all of those debates, all of those issues that we discussed were laying the ground work for us to come back, and when we come back in to session we remember what those debates were about, we remember what those issues were and at least they’re on the table now and we can start working from that point.”
The budget that finally got passed last year made very few people happy. It did not meet all of the expenditures and some agencies had to be trimmed drastically, especially the state park systems. The question remains, does it look like we are going to be able to find more revenue and get a budget that pays for everything? “I don’t think we will ever get to a budget that pays for everything.” claimed McCutcheon
View our entire conversation with Rep. Mac McCutcheon here in three parts: