General Fund Budget Taking Shape, Alabama Unites for Nepal

May 15, 2015

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Alabama’s general fund budget is slowly starting to take shape after some action in the state house.

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee has approved a budget that makes deep cuts to state agencies. The budget would cut Medicaid, mental health and state prisons corrections by five percent. Other state agencies would be cut by nine percent.

This proposal would impact the general fund budget. Alabama’s schools are funded by a separate spending plan.

The tighter general fund budget comes after lawmakers were unable to agree on proposed tax bills to fill a shortfall of more than two hundred million dollars.

Governor Robert Bentley is clashing with Republican lawmakers over raising taxes. The Governor may call the House and Senate into special session if no budget deal is hammered out.

A fundraiser for the victims of the recent earthquakes in Nepal is taking place in Birmingham this evening.

The Alabama Nepalese Association and members of Birmingham's Nepalese community are looking for donations to help those impacted in their home country.

The first earthquake last month measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. It killed more than 8,000 people in Nepal and injured 18,000.

Prashant Shrestha is a system analyst and programmer at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

“We have lost friends, people lost their houses. We lost our favorite landmarks, monuments which are very close to our hearts. And in wake of this tragedy, we Nepalese in Birmingham are now united to fulfill our duty and started this campaign: Alabama Unites for Nepal. The main objective of our fundraiser is to help victims and to raise awareness of the recent earthquake disaster in Nepal.”

The charity event will be at “The Edge of Chaos” events venue on UAB’s campus tonight at 5:30 PM. Those wanting to donate can do so via the Alabama Unites for Nepal Indiegogo campaign.

The sixth annual Hangout Music Fest kicks off this afternoon on the beaches of Gulf Shores.

The three-day music festival features more than 80 performances by some of the biggest music names in the world, like Beck, the Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket and plenty more.

40,000 people are expected to head to Gulf Shores for the event, which means a big economic boom for the community.

Grant Brown is the Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director for the City of Gulf Shores. He says Auburn University did an economic impact study in 2013, and they were surprised at just HOW big the bump was.

“Direct impact to the community is a thirty one million dollar number in 2013. Which is huge. The condominiums typically, this time of the year, are at a 25 to 30 percent occupancy. With the music festival in place, there’s 99 percent occupancy. So we’ve created a Fourth of July weekend before Memorial Day.”

Brown says the minute the festival ends, his staff will be hard at work getting the beach ready for next week, which is Memorial Day weekend.