Not sure about the math, but this leaves the possibility of having 9 additional work days in the session prior to expiration of the 30 calendar days allowed (unless they work on the weekend).
So the question of the day in the halls of the Statehouse was “what day will the Second Special Session start?”
A bill requires 5 working days at a minimum to pass both bodies of the legislature and to be transmitted to the Governor. Bills that reach the Governor less than five days before the end of the session may be approved by him within ten days after adjournment. Bills not approved within that time do not become law. This is known as a “pocket veto.”
If the legislature again fails to pass a General Fund appropriations bill that satisfies the Governor, the Governor can just sit on what they do pass and effectively will have vetoed it. At that point, there will be a requirement for a second special session.
The Governor has proposed a series of bills that essentially will provide an additional $302 million in revenue. These revenue measures include; increasing the business privilege tax ($38 million), increasing the tobacco tax ($70 million), doing away with the FICA exemption ($182 million) and not allowing withholding for state income taxes ($12 million). A soft drink tax has also been proposed in lieu of removing the FICA exemption ($182 million).
He has also proposed to utilize the prospective BP settlement for economic damages to offset state debts incurred in the past. The $1 billion anticipated amount would offset the amount borrowed by the General Fund from the Alabama Trust Fund in 2010 ($161 million) and 2013-2015 ($435 million). The balance would then go into the General Fund to use for ongoing operations. The $1 billion BP settlement for economic damages is expected to be $200 million up front and the remainder funded over a period of 18 years.
Removing the FICA exemption and not allowing withholding for state income taxes increases revenue to the Education Trust Fund by $194 million. In order to get the revenue into the General Fund where it is needed, the Governor has proposed removing the earmark for the use tax which would move approximately $225 million from the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund. This action would result in the Education Trust Fund being reduced by $31 million, which will not be wildly popular with legislators.
The House of Representatives adjourned yesterday without taking any bill introductions. Bills that increase or decrease revenue must originate in the House of Representatives. At this point, it is unclear what members of the House will be sponsoring the Governor’s bills.