Some lawmakers express “disappointment” in special session, but point to progress

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Governor Bentley says state lawmakers have failed by not passing a viable budget during the special session. Representative Phil Williams joins other lawmakers in arguing they just helped Bentley keep his campaign promise.

“Taxes were not increased, so [taxpayers] need to remember that,” said Williams. “There’s still a group of people down there going it’s not fair to raise taxes on people if there are other ways to manage budgets and manage the size of government.”

Williams says he is supportive of legislation to eliminate a bevy of tax credits offered by the states.

“There is a tax credit for the purchase of tomato twine, there’s a tax credit for on and on and on for up to $2 billion, for things that happen in the Alabama economy with people not even paying taxes. So many tax credit programs, we can’t afford those,” said Williams.

State Senator Arthur Orr also points to progress during the special session. Six bills were passed during the special session that will create between $40 million and $60 million in potential revenue for the state.

“Some of those bills cracked down on sales tax situations with vehicles from Florida, we also cracked down on individuals who were not paying any state income tax,” Orr explained.

  • House Bill 18 (Makes possession or use of devices used to delete records of sales transactions from cash register records, a felony. Subject to a fine of up to $100,000 or $500,00 for corporations)
    • $15-$20 million annually, estimate per sponsor
  • House Bill 25 (Vehicles purchased in Alabama, and removed from the state within 72 hours are subject to Alabama sales tax)
    • $2 million
  • House Bill 42 (Repeals the provisions of law allowing withholding exemption certificates to be used by 8 taxpayers to claim a total exemption from withholding tax)
    • $12 million annually
  • House Bill 49 (Establishes a factor presence nexus standard for business activity for purposes of income tax)
    • $8.5 million
  • Senate Bill 24 (Requires all persons or companies that are exempt from the payment of Alabama sales, use, and lodgings taxes, other than governmental entities, to annually obtain a  certificate of exemption from the Department of Revenue)
    • $5 million, estimate per sponsor
  • Senate Bill 42 (Members of governmental bodies may participate in meetings and deliberation electronically)
    • $2.1 million

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been as disgusted with politics as I am right now.” – Rep. Mike Ball

Despite these efforts, Representative Mike Ball says there’s no avoiding the fact that lawmakers created the situation the state is in right now.

“It’s been happening for decades and decades, probably centuries,” said Ball. “I have great deal of frustration, disappointment, in me, in others, in the whole process. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as disgusted with politics as I am right now.”

Ball says personal pride and the cacophony of voices, demands, and opposing needs, have clouded legislators’  judgement over the years and especially during the special session.

“They say a man with one watch knows the time, but a man with two watches is never sure,” said Ball. “There’s so many ideas and opinions and personalities that get in the middle of this, that nobody’s sure what to do.

“What are you going to do?,” WHNT News 19 reporter Daniela Perallon asked.

“I don’t know. What I want to do, what I’m going to try to do is keep my heart and mind open and try to isolate the problems at hand and try to find what the best solution is for the most people with the least amount of pain.”

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