The Democratic Caucus took steps that have surprised many with new initiatives they would like the Alabama House of Representatives to pass. On Wednesday April 8, 2015, the Democrats proposed cigarette tax increases, a state lottery and a gambling pact. The gambling pact would be between the state and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. It is unusual for such initiatives to be introduced when a third of the house session is over. However, the democrats were waiting for the right moment according to Minority Leader Craig Ford.
Republicans who have 72 seats of 105 in the house were given time to discuss state budget solutions. The house has been sitting on a decision regarding a proposed $541 million tax package, which the Governor supports. In the light of tax delays and striking while there is unhappiness with the budget, the Democratic Caucus seems to be timing their agenda well.
The proposals by the democrats would help with the budget problems Alabama is facing because it would offer more revenue through tripled cigarette taxes, expanded gambling revenue, and lottery sales. The state collects no taxes from the highly profitable Poarch casinos in the absence a tribal/state compact. Alabama is one of only 6 US states without a lottery. The last effort to invite the lottery to Alabama was rejected by voters in 1999.