- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Republicans in the Alabama House are backing off proposals to furlough state employees for two days and suspend longevity bonuses for a year.

Both ideas were considered to help the General Fund budget. But Speaker Mike Hubbard said Thursday they aren’t needed after a change to a cigarette tax bill.

The proposals drew criticisms from Democrats who say they’re pleased to see the ideas dropped.

Rep. John Knight of Montgomery says the state shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of state employees. The two proposals would have raised about $8 million.

Hubbard says he is pleased that the benefits will remain.

The proposed cigarette tax increase would raise the tax by 25 cents per pack. A bill amendment reduces a wholesaler discount and will raise another $6 million.

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