With only eight days left in the current legislative session, state lawmakers are running short on both time and options to patch a $200 million hole in the General Fund Budget.
The Alabama House of Representatives is set to vote tomorrow on a budget draft totaling $1.6 billion for next year. That would cut around 200 million dollars from funding for a wide variety of state agencies. House Speaker Mike Hubbard says his aim is to get that budget onto the Senate floor, and then work with Senators on a possible solution to avoid those cuts.
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.
A judge recently stopped another effort from Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s defense to have his ethics case dismissed.
Lee County Judge Jacob Walker III granted a state motion to kill subpoenas against Governor Robert Bentley and the custodian of records for the Alabama Ethics Commission.
Hubbard’s lawyers say those subpoenas were necessary to learn about possible communication records from Governor Bentley regarding Attorney General Luther Strange recusing himself from the case and appointing chief prosecutor Van Davis.
The Alabama House of Representatives has delayed debate on a series of GOP-backed tax bills aimed at solving the state's General Fund Budget shortfall.
Yesterday, leaders in the legislature chose not to debate that series of tax bills that have divided Alabama’s Republican party. House Rules Chairman Mac McCutcheon says the budget bills are still being worked on.
The main piece of legislators’ new revenue plan is a 25-cents-per-pack cigarette tax increase.
Supporters and critics of legalized gambling and an Alabama state lottery are scheduled to meet in Montgomery today.
If approved by voters, the measure would allow casino gambling at four state dog tracks along with lotto drawings. Critics of lotteries claim they’re a tax on the poor and a study by the non-partisan John Locke Foundation in North Carolina appears to support that idea.
Foundation spokesman Mitch Kokai says they examined who bought tickets during the first year of North Carolina’s lottery in 2007.
Republican lawmakers in Alabama’s House of Representatives have a new proposal to end the state's budget crisis.
Yesterday, House leaders announced a plan to fix the General Fund budget shortfall through a combination of cost-cutting, consolidation and new taxes. They plan to raise taxes on cigarettes and car rentals, cap paid state employee holidays and transfer revenue from the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund.
The proposal would raise nearly $200 million in new revenue. That’s less than half the $541 million Gov. Robert Bentley wants to raise.
Republican lawmakers seem to be turning toward gambling to shore up Alabama’s General Fund Budget, but Gov. Robert Bentley says that won’t provide enough money to stave off deep cuts to law enforcement and other state agencies.
Bentley spoke to the Associated Press yesterday in Dothan. He says the drafts of lottery and casino legislation proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh would bring Las Vegas-style gambling to the state of Alabama, which he says is not the budget solution the state needs.
Gov. Robert Bentley is giving lawmakers what he calls an "unvarnished" view of the cuts to state government that will occur without new revenue.
The governor sent a memo to each member of the Alabama Legislature last night. That memo describes the emergency operation plans state agencies produced in response to a draft budget lawmakers have already reviewed.
The reductions on the table include the layoff of more than 1,000 state employees, including 600 court employees and 132 law enforcement officers.