Stalled Legislature

By  | 

The current session of the Alabama Legislature could be described as the "battle of the budgets." Action in both the House and Senate has been stalled by filibusters and delay tactics.

But some lawmakers say they are growing weary of the partisan fight that is blocking consideration of meaningful legislation. It could be resolved, according to lawmakers, if leaders of the two sides would sit down and talk it out.

State Representative Robert Bentley of Tuscaloosa says differences between the budgets submitted by Governor Bob Riley and Democratic leaders in the Legislature are very small and come down to whether Alabama teachers will receive a six percent pay raise or a four percent raise.

Bentley, a Republican, says that comes to about one percent of the entire budget.

Bentley says if lawmakers can't get a budget and have to go into special session, -- quote -- "all of us should be fired."

A political scientist, David Lanoue of the University of Alabama, says the budget fight seems to be more about next year's governor and legislative elections than about differences in how the state spends its money.