State Government

Draconian General Fund cuts OK'd by House committee

Alabamians would face drastic service reductions in Medicaid, public health and other human services next year under a $1.4 billion General Fund budget proposal that the House's General Fund budget committee approved Wednesday. The full House could consider the budget for the state's non-education services as soon as Tuesday.

Read budget update here.

General Fund update 2-22-12 -- TANF, child support enforcement program could end amid budget cuts

Alabama could eliminate its child support enforcement program and end participation in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program next year because of budget cuts, Department of Human Resources (DHR) commissioner Nancy Buckner told legislators today at a General Fund budget hearing in Montgomery. Reduced funding for the state's mental health and public health agencies could mean hundreds of job losses and drastic service cutbacks amid a potential 25 percent General Fund shortfall, lawmakers also heard today.

Read full article.

General Fund update 2-17-12 -- Big changes could be ahead for Medicaid, prisons

The Alabama Medicaid Agency is seeing progress in recent efforts to save money without denying care, commissioner Dr. Bob Mullins told legislators today at a General Fund budget hearing in Montgomery. But some legislators suggested the cuts are not enough in the face of a potential 25 percent General Fund shortfall and said Medicaid officials need to consider converting Medicaid services to a private managed care system.

Read article here.

AT ISSUE: Drug testing for TANF applicants

Republican lawmakers have announced their intention to propose mandatory drug testing for welfare applicants in the 2012 legislative session, which begins February 7. The proposal raises a number of troubling issues.

Read issue brief.

Session enters final stretch

More than 1,000 bills have been introduced thus far this session. With a maximum of seven meeting days remaining, it will be “move or die” time when the Legislature returns next week. Of the 120-plus bills we’re following, here are a few highlights and their prospects:

 

SB 133 – General Fund (GF) budget for 2012. Two chambers passed different versions. Senate has appointed its conference committee members, and House must follow suit. The GF and Education budgets are the only bills the constitution requires the Legislature to pass.

 

HB 123  – Education budget for 2012. Passed both houses with amendments, now in conference committee.

 

HB 480  – The “untax groceries” bill. Must move out of House Ways & Means Education Committee in first week back to stay viable.

 

HB 60/SB 215 – Constitutional amendment to prohibit individual mandate in Affordable Care Act. House passed its version, Senate committee reported Senate bill out.

 

HB 380/SB 384 – Equal Pay Commission bill. Has three days to move.

 

HB 423/SB 316 – Changes by Realtors and other landlord interests to Landlord-Tenant Act 2006. Both versions have moved out of committee.

 

See our full Bills of Interest list.

 

Paid to Upgrade: Modernizing Unemployment Insurance

Alabama could get a $100 million boost for unemployed workers simply by making some common-sense changes to the way we calculate unemployment benefits. Yet, for two years running, Alabama policymakers have declined the offer.

This fact sheet examines how our current unemployment system works and what's at stake in the proposed changes.

On the Brink: Alabama's Looming Budget Shortfalls

Public services in Alabama have weathered the economic storm better than in most other states, but they're far from invincible. Rainy day funds and federal relief money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have helped the state avoid massive budget cuts thus far. But with the economy still slumping and the ARRA money running out, Alabama soon could find itself facing the same kind of deep budget cuts that other states are making.

This fact sheet examines the budgetary consequences of structural problems in the state's tax system.

Rainy Day Fund Amendment: What are the stakes?

Cut funding for public services now or borrow money and pay for them later? As the nation's economy continues to slide toward a recession, that's the choice Alabamians will face next month when they vote on the proposed Rainy Day Fund Amendment, listed as Amendment 1 on the Nov. 4, 2008, ballot.

This fact sheet examines the historical background that gave rise to the amendment, as well as the potential results of a positive or negative vote.

Money & Politics

While political contributions and free meals may not "buy" legislators' votes on specific issues, everyone agrees that such gifts do help gain access to lawmakers. Alabama law makes it easy to hide the source of such contributions from the public. Allowing undisclosed gifts creates a general perception that interest groups with ample funds enjoy greater influence than others.

This fact sheet  This fact sheet outlines proposed accountability and transparency legislation for 2007.

Budget Cuts Hurt Real Alabamians

Facing a shortfall of more than $250 million for Fiscal Year 2006, Alabama's leaders have once again failed to address the long-standing problems in the state's General Fund. The Governor has proposed a budget only $7.6 million larger than this year's patched-together, one-year solution.

This fact sheet This fact sheet outlines the impact of proposed budget cuts for FY 2006.

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