State Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz of Altus says he is encouraged by the ongoing work of the House and Senate toward reaching a budget agreement. The special session begins on Monday. Schulz says the Senate is ready to get to work to solve the budget shortfall. He says he still believes the cigarette tax is the clearest option available to address the $215 million dollar budget hole. He says the idea has been thoroughly vetted and could be considered quickly in special session. He says if given the chance, he is confident the Senate can pass a cigarette tax bill.