Legislators begin special session, National economy growing

Sep 8, 2015

Legislators are going to try for a third time to put together a state budget. Governor Robert Bentley has given lawmakers a wide berth when it comes to money making options to help the budget shortfall.

However, political commentator and columnist Steve Flowers thinks the short session will make things difficult.

“With them only having a two week window to work with, if you will, I don’t see a major agenda thing that’s going to be difficult to pass. They’re going to go in there and pass, what I think is a bare bones budget.”

Legislators have so far been unable to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of at least $200 million dollars. Despite Governor Bentley’s request to raise taxes, legislators have taken a firm stance opposing tax increases.

The national economy is continuing to grow, according to numbers released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The report lists 175,000 new jobs added in the month of August and a national unemployment rate of 5.1%. That’s welcome news to Alabamians. The state saw an increase in unemployment last month, rising from 6.1% to 6.2% from June to July.

Chris Lu is the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor. He says that slight rise in unemployment isn’t really cause for concern.

“What we always say is not to read too much into one-month job numbers. When you look at Alabama, the unemployment rate in July was 6.2%. That’s down from about 6.6% a year ago. So it’s certainly trending in the right direction.”

Lu says although this month saw impressive job gains across the country, the construction and manufacturing sectors have lagged behind. He believes a long-term federal infrastructure bill would change that.