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Alabama’s Republican governor suggests he might propose a tax hike

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) looks around during a brief run through before he is inaugurated for his second term. The inauguration took place on Jan. 19. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) on Monday suggested that he may push a tax hike in his deeply conservative state.

Bentley told legislators and business leaders at a Monday lunch that he’s targeting tax deductions—which he says is not the same as raising taxes—and “unequally paid taxes,”’s Brendan Kirby reports:

“I’m going to do some bold things, folks,” he said, adding that when it comes time to ask the people of Alabama in a few months for more revenue, “It’s going to be my job. They’re going to look at me.”

The state faces a budget shortfall “that rises into the hundreds of millions of dollars,” Bentley said in his inaugural address two weeks ago. He has previously estimated the size of that gap to be about $700 million, including a roughly $250 million shortfall as well as repayments to the state’s rainy day and education funds. He ruled out raising property taxes in early January.

“I will propose what has to be raised,” he said on Monday, though reports that he did not provide specifics. “But whenever I send over a budget, they always change things.”

Republican legislators in attendance were cautious in responding to Bentley’s comments.

“I don’t know what he has in mind,” Rep. Randy Davis told “Probably 75 percent of the legislature ran on no new taxes.”

While overall state revenues have recovered to pre-recession levels, that is not the case with Alabama, according to Pew Charitable Trusts data.