Alabama budgets


The Alabama legislature met in special session on Monday to resolve the on-going debate over the general fund budget. Both chambers recessed the same day, with an eye on meeting again next month. One proposal is to merge the general fund with the spending plan for Alabama schools. Whether that ideas works or not is one issue. APR political commentator Steve Flowers says one trick state lawmakers have avoided in the past is a political case of “robbing Paul to pay Peter.”

Alabama lawmakers are still struggling to finalize the general fund budget. Governor Robert Bentley says he’ll call the state House and Senate into a special session next month to talk about raising revenue. The legislature didn’t finish the general fund spending plan, but they all did complete the six billion dollar education budget. If you’ve ever wondered why Alabama has two budgets, well—APR political commentator Steve Flowers tries to sort it all out…

  Governor Robert Bentley says there are no easy solutions to the state's budget and prison problems. Bentley, in his second inaugural address, said state leaders face tough decisions as they come into office for the next four years. However, Bentley said state leaders will not shrink away from the challenge.

     A budget shortfall and the state's severely overcrowded prisons are expected to be the biggest problems facing the Legislature when it convenes in March. The governor is expected to give his proposals when he gives his State of the State address in March.

Governor Robert Bentley is challenging legislators to be leaders as they address the state's budget crisis next year.

  Bentley says he wants to make significant changes instead of putting a Band-Aid on the state's budget for another year.  The governor has said he will suggest solutions when he submits his proposed budget next year, but has not yet detailed what those will be.

 Legislators heard a grim General Fund presentation on the final day of legislative orientation.

Alabama lawmakers will face another grim budget outlook when they return to Montgomery next year and Gov. Robert Bentley says he wants their ideas for long-term solutions instead of a one-year money fix.

Bentley has asked legislative leaders to bring him ideas in advance of the 2015 session.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh of Anniston says he wants legislators to make bold changes to try to solve the state's long-term problems.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A new study ranks Alabama 44th among the states in long-range budgeting.

The study was released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington. It says Alabama needs to look beyond one-year budgets and consider multi-year revenue forecasts and the costs of programs over several years. The report complimented Alabama for having adequate pension funding, a Legislative Fiscal Office to analyze spending, and a well-designed rainy day fund.

Gov. Robert Bentley is proposing state budgets that would require most state agencies to get by next year with about the same amount they are receiving this year.

Bentley's proposals include increases for all levels of public education.

Bentley's office released his recommended budgets Tuesday, which is the second day of the Legislature's 2014 session.

Bentley's state General Fund budget for the next fiscal year would spend $1.8 billion. The biggest increase is $70 million is for Medicaid. Courts would get a small increase.

Gov. Robert Bentley says his first impression of the state education and state general fund budgets is that they are basically fine.

   Bentley said Wednesday it appears legislators put some pork projects into the budgets and he's still reviewing a few items. But he sad he hasn't seen any major problems yet.