Legislature clears path to proration in General Fund

Posted by Max Reiss – bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – Alabama lawmakers have cleared the path for Governor Bentley to declare proration in the General Fund budget.

Lawmakers were tasked with passing additional appropriations for several state agencies.

"Once lawmakers pass the supplemental budgets, then I'll call proration" Bentley said.

The Alabama Senate passed supplemental appropriations for the Department of Correction, the Alabama Medicaid Agency, Ethics Commission, and for pardons and paroles last week.

The House did the same Tuesday afternoon.

"I would be surprised if Governor Bentley didn't call proration by the end of the week" said Rep. Jim Barton who chairs the Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

"I'm chairing this committee for the first time, and I have learned a lot so far" Barton (R – Mobile) said.

Democrats have charged Republicans with only caring about cutting the budget instead of searching for additional sources for the state to make money.

Rep. Alvin Holmes, (D - Montgomery) the longest tenured member of the Alabama Legislature said "The legislature is going to have to come up with some means of generating some additional revenue, even if we have to raise property taxes."

But Barton said those new ideas for revenue should have come up at some point years ago when Democrats controlled the State House.

"Not a jab at those guys but they've been in control for the last 136 years so if they wanted to make those changes they probably should have made them last year or in the previous 135 years" Barton said. "We're dealing with what they left us."

Gov. Bentley said he would be forced to declare 15% proration in the General Fund nearly two months ago. He has already ordered a 3% cut to the Education Trust Fund.

"We still have a lot of work to do and we're going to do it" Bentley said.

The House and Senate will reconvene Thursday.

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