Governor Bentley calls for budget sacrifices

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's new governor is outlining what he calls a plan of sacrifices that will stop the state government from spending millions it doesn't have.

Gov. Robert Bentley gave his first State of the State speech to the Legislature on Tuesday night. He is proposing state budgets that call for public employees to pay more for their health insurance and retirement benefits.

Bentley also wants to end state funding for dozens of commissions, museums and halls of fame that he says aren't essential functions of government.

Bentley says he is focusing the state's limited money on essential services including protecting teachers' jobs and increasing funding for the Medicaid program to maintain its health care services.

Bentley also is proposing a one-time tax credit for businesses that create jobs.


House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh worked with Gov. Robert Bentley on the budget-cutting plan he outlined to the Legislature and they predict it will have strong support.

Bentley outlined a plan Tuesday night that will require public employees to pay more for their health insurance and retirement, that will cut some state programs 45 percent over two years and that will wipe out funding for some museums and tourists attractions. His budget plan also would protect Medicaid funding, save teachers' jobs and maintain the current length of the school year.

Hubbard called it a conservative, responsible budget plan that's also compassionate.

But House Minority Leader Craig Ford said Democrats will fight Bentley's plan to make public employees pay more for their benefits.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)