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Special Session begins, Kids get ready to head back to school

Alabama’s lawmakers are back in Montgomery for a special session to work on the budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is seeking a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. He also wants to raise the business privilege tax on larger businesses while giving smaller ones a tax cut.  The governor has also suggested ending the ability of taxpayers to claim a state income tax deduction when they pay their federal Social Security taxes.

Tuscaloosa Representative Bill Poole says he is not optimistic the budget will be decided upon in this special session…

“We’ll have to identify solutions quickly, get them through the legislative process which takes several days to go through all of the steps and committee meetings and votes in both chambers.  I think that’s a tall order unless we’re able to find a solution at the early part of next week.”

The state faces a $200 million shortfall for the fiscal year that begins October first.  Bentley has said if it takes ten special sessions to come up with a budget, he will call them.

Officials in Hartselle are trying to decide what to do about the city's landfill.

Hartselle Public Works Director Daxton Maze says the landfill has 24 to 36 months of operation left before it reaches capacity.

He is evaluating ways to extend the life of the 31-acre landfill.

Mayor Don Hall says the city first started considering ways to increase the landfill's lifespan more than 15 years ago. Back then, the city wanted to purchase additional land north of the landfill. It didn't happen because of public outcry.

Hall says residents didn't want the landfill getting closer to their homes.

August means school is back in session.

Students at Birmingham city and Jefferson county schools start back this Wednesday, with more schools resuming throughout the month.

Dr. Tommy Bice is the State Superintendent of Education. He says that a new school year is the perfect time to set some new habits…

“The beginning of any school year is a new start for everybody. We would hope that they begin to develop a schedule so there’s time for rest, there’s time for homework, there’s time for extracurricular sorts of activities, and just look at school as an opportunity to have fun while they learn.”

Bice also says that Alabama schools will continue to practice teaching methods that better engage the students and leads to more critical thinking. To find out when classes start in your area, contact your local school system.

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