Gov. declares 10.6% proration in Alabama
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Governor Robert Bentley's office announced late Friday afternoon in a press statement that a 10.6 percent proration is being declared on the state's General Fund Budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2012. That budget ends September 30.
Bentley's office said the General Fund has been impacted by several major factors and that it is necessary to cut the budget across the board. The largest factors included tens of millions of dollars in state funding required for tornado recovery.
The governor's office said stock market conditions during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 were also among the worst in the last 60 years.
"We have pursued every possible option in order to avoid proration; however, this step must be taken." State Finance Director Dr. Marquita Davis said. "While proration is difficult, it is necessary to balance the budget, which is constitutionally required in Alabama."
WHAT DOES PRORATION MEAN?
With the declaration of proration, state agencies financed by the General Fund are required to reduce expenses through the current fiscal year.
"Just as families must reduce their spending when money is limited, government must also reduce its spending," Governor Bentley said. "We must live within our means, and we will make financial decisions that honor our commitment to taxpayers to keep a balanced budget."
Governor Bentley said he sees "encouraging signs" citing the state's falling unemployement rate. It currently stands at 7.8 percent. "Also, we have announced more than 17,000 new, future jobs.
Bentley added, "Unfortunately, the General Fund Budget has no growth revenues, so it will take longer to respond to the economy improving."
The governor's office said the proration declaration does not affect public school funding.
WSFA 12 News is working to gather reaction from state officials. We'll have more information as it becomes available.
REACTION FROM STATE DEPARTMENTS (Updated as info is learned...)
- Alabama Dept. of Environmental Management:
"We had a 30% cut two years ago, 30% cut last year, and this year the Governor has submitted a budget to the legislature for 2013 that showed a 20% cut. This cut applies to 2012 so the 2012 year will amount to approximately 40% budget cuts. We're going to be challenged about how to provide the necessary services within the funds that are available. We've taken a number of steps to try to deal with the prior cuts and we've taken a number of steps to deal with the 2013 cut…we're going to have to try to scramble around to find out what to cut."
- Director Lance LeFleur
- State Personnel Director
"Waiting to hear from the agencies to see the impact and how state personnel office can assist..."
- Director Jackie B. Graham
- Alabama Dept. of Public Health
"That amounts to almost $6 million for us…it's a little early to know exactly how you're going to deal with the cuts…we've developed a contingency plan on how to deal with 25%...in anticipation of the 2013 budget…we'll have to start looking at some of that early…instead of looking at 2013 as the impact date, we'll start looking at moving some of those actions to deal with that 10% cut…really represents more than 10% because you're not taking it out of the full year, it really has twice the effect because it's coming out of the last half of the year. We'll use our two weeks to try to identify the best way to deal with those cuts. There's been discussion about this for quite some time now, I don't think anybody's been blindsided."
- State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson, MD
- Alabama Dept. of Mental Health
"At this time, we just got the news this afternoon, and it is after 5 on a Friday. We're going to reconvene on Monday and discuss our options. We just have to wait and see, and look and see where we can cut." Figures are in the $12 million range.
- Director Tony Thompson
Agencies have until March 30 to make a statement to the governor regarding the proration.
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