Will Governor Bentley veto education budget? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Will Governor Bentley veto education budget?

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STATEWIDE -

Governor Robert Bentley isn't "feeling the love" of some members of his party. 

Last night, the house ignored the governor's request for a two percent pay raise for teachers as they passed an education budget.

The republican leadership in the house said the state couldn't afford it.

Now, some question whether there's a rift within the party.

The governor has the power to veto the budget and call a special session. Is he gutsy enough to go for it?

Governor Bentley told reporters in Huntsville this morning he plans to review the education budget over the weekend and expects to make his decision next week.

However, those with a front row seat in Montgomery believe there are bigger issues taking place among party leaders.

Republican representative Arthur Payne of Jefferson County voted against the budget because it didn't include a pay increase for teachers.

Payne says he is disappointed with how house leadership pushed the budget through.

"I think there's been a real effort by the leadership to not provide the pay raise," says Payne. "It's always politics in Montgomery. The Speaker (Mike Hubbard) is a very powerful man, the second most powerful in the state and he can make sure he get what he wants in that house."

The budget passed by just ten votes.
 
Payne is one of nine republican members of the Jefferson County delegation. Five of those republicans voted for the budget. Four voted against it.

It's worth noting, this is an election year. Teachers make up an important segment of voters.

"When you become the majority, and you have a super majority, you're going to have division," says democrat representative Patricia Todd.

Todd sees the dustup in a different light.

"Governor Bentley was not the republican party's first choice for governor. That is demonstrated in his lack of control, or power, in the legislature," says Todd.

Payne says, "Instead of it being a 'rift' maybe it's a question of who are the representatives representing? Are they representing the people that elected them or are they representing the leadership in Montgomery?"

Both Payne and Todd are optimistic that governor Bentley will call a special session.

However, they caution the governor.

"I wouldn't suggest he do that unless he's sure he's got the vote to get that pay raise in there," says Todd.

"He's got to answer, 'can I get the votes up to override the speaker and get the two percent pay raise if I call a special session?' We can get the pay raise for the teachers if the governor does the work. I think he can get the votes," says Payne.

The governor has ten days to sign the budget or veto it and call a special session.

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