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Here’s the text of Governor Bentley’s Special Session proclamation

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, Governor Robert Bentley, and House Speaker Mike Hubbard
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, Governor Robert Bentley, and House Speaker Mike Hubbard

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Governor Robert Bentley surprised the state by calling the State Legislature back for a Special Session to address the General Fund budget’s shortfall.

The Special Session itself comes as no surprise. When Bentley vetoed the legislature’s budget — which relied solely on cuts to balance, rather than on the tax increases favored by the Governor — it was clear a Special Session would be necessary to fund the government before the new Fiscal Year begins in October. But since the Regular Session concluded in June, lawmakers have been given the impression Bentley would call them back in August, giving them a couple of months to plan and research various longterm budget solutions.

Interestingly, the proclamation expressly forbids consideration of gambling without a vote of 2/3rds of the legislature, but allows consideration the governor’s proposed tax increases.

Below is the text of the Governor’s proclamation calling for the Special Session:

WHEREAS, there exists an extraordinary occasion in the State of Alabama, which demands the convening of the Legislature of Alabama, in extraordinary session, as prescribed by Article V, Section 122 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert Bentley, as Governor of the State of Alabama, do hereby proclaim and direct that the Legislature of the State of Alabama shall convene in extraordinary session at the seat of government, Alabama State House, in Montgomery, Alabama, at 4:00 p.m. on July 13, 2015, and do hereby designate the following subjects and matters, for the adequate support of the operations of state government and to fundamentally change the way Alabama state government undertakes budgeting, which I, as Governor, deem necessary to be considered and acted upon by said Legislature, in extraordinary session assembled:

1. Legislation providing appropriations from the General Fund for fiscal year 2016, as required by § 70 of Article IV of the Constitution of Alabama and by the Budget Management Act under Chapter 19 of Title 41 of the Code of Alabama.

2. All legislation regarding gambling or games of chance commonly played at casinos or gambling facilities is expressly excluded from this call and shall require a two-thirds vote for consideration throughout the duration of this extraordinary session of the Legislature.

Budget Reform:

3. Legislation shifting the distribution of use taxes levied under Chapter 23 of Title 40 of the Code of Alabama to the General Fund from the Education Trust Fund.

4. Legislation to unearmark certain state taxes, levied under various statutes.

5. Legislation to provide for the distribution of payments allocated to the state for economic damages resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster.

6. Legislation to amend the Education Trust Fund Rolling Reserve Act under Chapter 9 of Title 29 of the Code of Alabama.

Increase in Growth Revenue:

7. Legislation to amend the business privilege tax levied under Article 2 of Chapter 14A of Title 40 of the Code of Alabama.

8. Legislation to increase the tax levied on tobacco products under Chapter 25 of Title 40 of the Code of Alabama and to create a tax to be levied upon consumable vapor products and/or e-cigarette products.

9. Legislation to amend the individual income tax deduction for taxes paid under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) allowed under Chapter 18 of Title 40 of the Code of Alabama.

10. Legislation to impose a tax on certain beverages and beverage products, including soft drinks and soft drink products, as an alternative to the amendment of the individual income tax deduction for taxes paid under FICA.

11. Legislation to repeal the withholding tax exemption for employers upon receipt from an employee of a withholding exemption certificate under Chapter 18 of Title 40 of the Code of Alabama.

Economic Development:

12. Legislation to create an authority for financing improvements at the Gulf State Park and to authorize the Authority to issue bonds not to exceed fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) for the Gulf State Park Project.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand as Governor of the State of Alabama and caused this Proclamation to be attested by the Secretary of State at the State Capitol, in the City of Montgomery, on this the ____ day of _________, 2015.