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Bentley mulling special session on budget, Small Business diversity summit


Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he is still considering a special session on Medicaid funding but has not made a final decision.

The governor says Medicaid needed at least an additional $15 million in order to have adequate funding in the next fiscal year. Bentley adds he expects to announce a decision soon.

Lawmakers budgeted $700 million for the state Medicaid program. Bentley said $785 million was needed to maintain the program.

Bentley says he might be able to use oil spill settlement funds and other sources to partially close the gap. Bentley declined to name funding options for closing the remainder.

He said a lottery and tax increases are all things that could be considered.

Minority business owners will be getting some tips on working with their local chamber of commerce tomorrow.

The Minority Business Council of West Alabama will be holding its second annual Small Business Diversity Summit tomorrow at Tuscaloosa’s University Church of Christ.  The summit will include training sessions on financial institution applications, peer-to-peer lending, doing business with large companies and more.

Michelle Cooley chairs the Minority Business Council of West Alabama. She says the summit is a necessity for small business owners.

“A lot of times, people feel like they don’t have a voice and they don’t know who to turn to and they don’t know what they need.  So what the council does is allow them to come together with others that are in their same situation and be able to ask questions and feel comfortable.  It just gives them an outlet and an advocate.”

Sylvester Hester will be the keynote speaker. He’s president of auto parts supplier ARD Logistics - Alabama. State Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington will also be speaking.

A group that represents communities served by the Tennessee Valley Authority is meeting this week in Decatur.

The Association of Tennessee Valley Governments is holding its two-day summer conference. The meeting will include updates concerning the Tennessee Valley Authority and information about Alabama regional tourism.

Executive Director Mike Arms says that local entities, regardless of their political affiliation, have a lot in common… 

“We’re talking about local issues that we all face. Economic development and workforce development and job creation and low-cost power and local environmental issues. When you get them local governments, there’s really not a lot of Republican-Democrat brands on those issues ’cause, uh, jobs are jobs.”

The meeting will feature a presentation about Decatur before and after TVA’s 80 years of service.   

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