Alabama Lawmakers Mull Tax Bills

Alabama's governor has urged state legislators to forget their party affiliation and support his package of "tax and accountability" bills.

Riley has proposed raising $1.2 billion by 2008, largely through increases in property and income taxes.

"This will be conditioned upon one fundamental concept. Change state government and change it for good. We must have real reform and expect real accountability," said Riley.

Riley is opposed by some lawmakers who fear the tax will hurt small businesses.

House committees Wednesday approved five bills in Riley's package. The committees rejected efforts to drastically change or reduce the proposals.

If adopted, the bills passed would raise about $155 million and are expected to be considered by the full House next Tuesday.

But some lawmakers worried that efforts to strip some taxes from the package or otherwise change the bills could kill the whole package.

Rep. Nelson Starkey of Florence said the efforts to amend bills could doom the special session.

The bills approved by committees Wednesday would increase the state tax on a pack of cigarettes from 16 cents a pack to 31 cents a pack and would levy a one dollar tax on every one thousand dollars of stocks, bonds and other intangibles.

If the bills pass the Legislature, they would go before Alabama voters in a statewide referendum in September.

The Associated Press and Network News Service contributed to this report.