News & Updates

July 10, 2015

Statements Regarding the Special Session

REPRESENTATIVE RANDALL SHEDD:

First, I think it is important for the public to know that legislators do not receive extra pay for special sessions. When the voters approved the Constitutional Amendment that cut legislators pay beginning with this four-year term, we as legislators are paid the same whether we are in session or not.

Legislators do receive per diem and mileage, but no extra pay for a special session, therefore there are no financial incentives or benefits for legislators to be in special sessions.

Secondly, we in the House of Representatives did our job in the Regular Session. We passed a General Fund budget and voted to override Governor Bentley’s budget veto. It wasn’t what everyone wanted, but like every Alabamian has to do at their kitchen table, we made tough decisions based on the money we had available.

Now, as far as this special session:

Reduce Government

I identified and asked that we address eliminating multiple layers of government. I am disappointed that this is not in the call. I strongly believe that if we are at the point of being asked to raise taxes and/or consider gambling to bail out state government, we should first eliminate multiple levels of unnecessary and outdated layers of government and bureaucracy.

Gambling

I commend Governor Bentley for excluding gambling from the Special Session call. While I don’t expect I would stand in the way of the people of Alabama voting on a state lottery, I am absolutely opposed to Las Vegas style gambling and expanding casinos in Alabama.

Shifting Taxes From Education Fund to General Fund

I have concerns about the “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul” strategy of shifting money from the Education Fund to the General Fund. Public education in my district is struggling already and I don’t see this as a solution.

Unearmark State Taxes

In general, I like earmarking taxes. When we earmark, we know where the money goes. I don’t like giving a blank check to people in Montgomery.

BP Oil Settlement

I firmly believe it would be best to place funds from the BP Oil Settlement in a Trust Fund with earnings designated to go into the General Fund.

Governor Fob James used great judgement many years ago in placing the state’s huge oil money windfall in a trust fund. Had he not done so, all that money would probably be gone today and most likely nothing to show for it.

Amend Rolling Reserve Act

I will wait to see the details, but I do believe it is time we amend to Rolling Reserve Act if we do it properly.

Business Privilege Tax

I believe in tax fairness and if Alabama businesses are paying more than out-of-state and foreign companies we should correct that and make it fair.

Increasing Tobacco Tax

After seeing all the facts, I may or may not vote for some tax increases. However, I do not believe it is fair to add taxes on a small group of people and I think that is what we would be doing with a tobacco tax.

In response to a reporter’s question, I stated at the beginning of my term that I would not vote for a tobacco tax, and I intend to vote against it.

As a matter of tax fairness, I expect I would vote for consumable vapor products and/or e-cigarette taxes to be the same as existing tobacco taxes.

Deductions on FICA

I don’t expect I will vote to amend the deduction on FICA.

Beverage/Soft Drink Tax

The devil is in the details, but if I am convinced the new revenue would truly go to help the people of Alabama, I am open-minded to a tax on beverage/soft drinks as long as we don’t tax bottle water.

I believe soft drinks add to our General Fund problems through obesity and health issues, and I believe soft drinks add to our litter problems along our highways and streams and this costs state and local governments a lot of money.

I would want to exempt bottle water to encourage healthy drinking.

Repeal Withholding Tax Exemption

I support Representative Ken Johnson’s (R-Moulton) bill to repeal the withholding tax exemption. I agree that many are unfairly using this to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

Gulf State Park Project

I have reservations about this project in a Special Session. I have voted for it every time in the past because I believe it would be good for the economy of the state in the long run, but the timing of doing it in the Special Session troubles me.

I expect this Special Session will be contentious, but I will do my best to represent my district well.

Randall Shedd
District 11, Alabama
House of Representatives
1461 Welcome Road
Cullman, Alabama 35058
256-531-6641(cell)

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SPEAKER HUBBARD STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR BENTLEY’S UNEXPECTED SPECIAL SESSION CALL:


Montgomery – Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) issued the following statement Thursday in response to Governor Bentley’s call for a special session on Monday, July 13.

“Since the 2015 Regular Session adjourned, Members of the House and Senate have been working cooperatively to find a solution to our General Fund issues and the various taskforces we appointed have been meeting as well. In order for those groups to have time to devise a solution that everyone can support, Governor Bentley gave us his word that no special session would be called until sometime around mid-August. Given the fact that our committees are still working diligently using the timeline that the governor originally provided us, we will have to take all of those factors into consideration as the Legislature convenes in this unexpected session on Monday. I am confident that the House and Senate will continue to work in a collaborative manner and will successfully develop a solution.”

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For More Information Visit This Website: Yellowhammer News: Why You Should Care About A Special Session


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