Legislature likely to prevail in budget battle with governor
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
History hasn't been kind to Gov. Robert Bentley when it comes to his record challenging the legislature on hot button issues.
The governor was unsuccessful in his efforts last year and in 2011 to make changes to the Alabama Accountability Act and the state's immigration law respectively.
"This stuff isn't personal," the governor told reporters Thursday afternoon.
Toward the end of the 2014 Regular Session, the latest high-profile battle has to do with the education budget. The House committee approved version of the Education Trust Fund included $48 million to pay for PEEHIP, teachers' health insurance.
The governor has demanded that lawmakers approve elements of the education that he sent over two months ago that included a two percent pay raise for all teachers and postsecondary employees and full funding for teachers' health insurance.
"We need to reward them and give back some of the money that we have taken away," the governor said at an event Friday. "I support our classroom teachers and I'm asking members of the legislature to do the same thing."
Gov. Bentley has called on the legislature to revive a bill that would provide a 2 percent pay increase for all teachers. The bill was carried over during a House Education Budget Committee meeting Wednesday. Without a bill authorizing a pay increase, there wouldn't be a mechanism for the legislature to approve it.
"I regret that this is happening right now but I do believe that at the end of the day that the governor will agree with our budget and agree that it's a responsible budget," House Speaker Mike Hubbard said during an interview Thursday.
He added that a looming GOP primary in June could also be influencing the governor's thinking by attempting to frame himself as being "for teachers" while considering the legislature "against teachers."
"I wouldn't say it's purely political but I will say there are some political indicators in it," said Rep. Hubbard, R-Auburn.
The House is expected to debate the education budget next Tuesday.
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