New State Commission Asked To Cut State Budget

A new state commission was asked this week to study state government agencies and find ways to prevent a projected 300 million dollars in cuts to state agencies from the General Fund next year.

State Finance Director Drayton Nabers today told members of the Governor's Commission on Efficiency, Consolidation and Funding that most state non-education agencies could receive 60 percent budget cuts next year if additional savings or revenue is not found. Most agencies already received an 18 percent cut in this year's budget after voters rejected the governor's plan to raise taxes. Nabers attributed next year's expected budget deficit to several factors, including the increased cost of Medicaid, the rising cost of employee benefits and the loss of one-time federal money the state received last year.

Governor Bob Riley appointed 37 people to the panel. The chairman is Mike Warren, president and chief executive officer of Energen Corporation. He said he expects the commission to make recommendations to Riley in December.