Ala. legislators hear gloomy budget predictions

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama legislators are hearing gloomy budget forecasts that could mean layoffs during the coming fiscal year for teachers and state employees. Declining revenues also could mean reductions in state services and larger classes in public schools.

Legislative Fiscal Officer Joyce Bigbee predicted Monday that tax revenue for the General Fund budget would be about equal to last year's $1.3 billion budget. But there could still be a hole of as much as a $600 million because federal stimulus money won't be available. Bigbee predicted about $5.29 billion will be available for education programs, a slight decrease from last year. Bigbee and state Finance Director Bill Newton presented budget forecasts as lawmakers began four days of budget hearings.

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