Judge to rule quickly in suit over Ala. budget - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Judge to rule quickly in suit over Ala. budget

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A Montgomery judge says he will try to rule by Jan. 16 in a budget dispute between the governor and several legislators that could determine which state agencies take the biggest budget cuts.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Truman Hobbs Jr. heard arguments Friday in a suit filed by members of the Legislature's Joint Fiscal Committee. The suit has taken on greater significance because of the recession cutting into state tax collections and forcing budget cuts.

The legislators are challenging Riley's decision to cut language from this year's state General Fund budget when it was passed by the Legislature. The Legislature's language shielded social service and health care agencies from budget cuts.

Riley's lawyer argued that the budget's design was unconstitutional and cuts should be across the board. But the Legislature's lawyer argued that Riley's line-item veto of the budget language was unconstitutional.

Both sides agree that no matter how Hobbs rules, the case will go to the Alabama Supreme Court.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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