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.
Baldwin County school officials plan to meet today to talk about the failure of a tax plan at the ballot box. That meeting will focus on what to do now.
The referendum was voted down March 31. It would have given the county an 8 mill property tax increase. Voters in Baldwin County also voted to end existing funding that gives Baldwin County 12 mills a year. Now, Baldwin County only has 8 mills total in education tax revenue, and needs to get to the state-mandated 10 mills.
Two Alabama economic development bills aimed at bringing new jobs to the state are another step closer to becoming law.
Alabama lawmakers passed legislation yesterday to revamp how the state offers economic incentives to companies.
The Alabama Jobs Act would create a pay-as-you-go model for tax abatements and other benefits offered to companies creating jobs or capital investment in the state. Alabama's present model offers those incentives upfront.
That bill is now headed to Governor Bentley's desk to be signed into law.
The voting is over regarding charter schools in Alabama. Now, the big question is how to implement these non-traditional schools and what happens next.
Governor Robert Bentley put Alabama in line with 42 other states by signing SB45 into law last month, allowing charter schools to operate. Perhaps the most asked question about these non-traditional schools is what exactly the difference is between them and a regular public school.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal met recently to discuss a long-running dispute over water.
The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to hear a case out of Florida that seeks to limit Georgia's water withdrawals from the Chattahoochee River. Alabama officials are also concerned about Georgia's water use. Residents and officials in both Alabama and Florida argue that Georgia withdraws too much of the river upstream, which impacts wildlife and industry downstream.
The current state legislation session is underway and one topic that seems to be getting a cold reception is Medicaid expansion. Governor Robert Bentley caused political shockwaves when he said he was at least open to the idea.
That guarded endorsement isn’t winning a lot of support in the state House and Senate.
But a proposal to insure more than 250-thousand Alabamians is not getting anywhere.
“We must take real steps to reverse the trouble health trends that have occurred in our state.”
The Alabama Legislature has passed a bill to establish charter schools in the state.
The House of Representatives voted 58 to 41 to pass the bill after making a few changes. State senators voted 24 to 11 to adopt those changes. The bill now heads to Governor Bentley, who is expected to sign the measure into law after a legal review.
State Democrats have been especially critical of the bill. Nick Rose is the President of the Tuscaloosa Democratic Party. He outlined the party’s three main complaints with the charter school measure.