Lawmakers begin legislative session this week

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - State lawmakers will get back to work, this week.

The new legislative session begins Tuesday and money is likely to be the biggest issue. Lawmakers are faced with tough decisions about budget cuts. The state's economy is showing smalls signs of recovery, but it is too slow and too late to avoid major cuts in the state's budget for next year.

Republicans will preside over their first regular session in power in more than 130 years, but there will not be any time to celebrate. Homewood Representative Paul Demarco says the general fund budget for things like prisons and state agencies could face cuts up to 15%.

"Difficult decisions have to be made, but the citizens are looking to us to do that, balance the budget," said Demarco.
The education budget will be tight as well. So tight that Democrat Oliver Robinson says layoffs of some state workers and bigger class sizes for students may be inevitable.

"We just don't see any additional revenue and we have such a great shortfall, that we're really looking at things of that nature, but hoping not to do that," said Robinson.

While lawmakers think about budget cuts, Governor Bentley is looking for ways to grow the economy. He wants tax deductions for businesses that hire new workers and incentives for small businesses to encourage hiring.

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