State Government

Governor Riley's 2009 Budget Priorities

What programs deserve top priority as Alabama's revenues fall next year? Will the state address the shortfall with budget cuts, tax increases or both? And just how big is the budget hole, anyway? Lawmakers are likely to spend most of the 2008 legislative session trying to answer those questions for the fiscal year 2009 budget. Their decisions could affect the quality and direction of state services for years to come. One set of suggested solutions is in the budgets Gov. Bob Riley submitted to the Legislature this month.

This fact sheet examines the governor's 2009 budget priorities.

Show Me the Money: Four Barriers to Transparency

How do hidden campaign contributions differ from openly reported ones? What does an elected official "owe" the voters back home? Can a free fancy dinner ever be just something to eat?

This fact sheet This fact sheet "follows the money" through the political process and proposes ways to improve accountability and transparency. 

Losing Ground: Alabama's Eroding Revenues

A 2005 report on the stability of state revenues found Alabama at high risk for developing a gap between revenues and necessary expenditures in the coming years. Economists call this chronic revenue shortfall a structural deficit. The report by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) is titled "Faulty Foundations: State Structural Budget Problems and How to Fix Them." It raises many of the same concerns as ACPP's 2004 fact sheet "Two Steps Back: Alabama's Structural Deficit," adding a national perspective on the problem and potential solutions.

This fact sheet examines how Alabama fares on ten risk factors for a structural deficit.

How Does State Spending Work?

The Alabama Legislature budgets around $20 billion annually in federal and state money to keep state programs and services running. ACPP follows the budget process closely because of the vulnerability of programs serving low-income Alabamians.

This fact sheet This fact sheet explains where the state gets its money, how the budget process works, and where the money goes.

General Fund 2002-06

How does the General Fund work? How has it fared over the last five years?

This fact sheet This fact sheet sorts out what the General Fund numbers really mean.

Shell Game: Alabama's General Fund 2001-05

It's become a rite of spring in Alabama: First, agency heads, newspaper editors and advocacy groups predict disaster for the General Fund. Next, lawmakers find just enough spending to cut and just enough piecemeal revenue to add to keep the state in business for another 12 months. Every year, the doomsayers get accused of "crying wolf," but what's really going on?

This fact sheet This fact sheet examines what the General Fund does, what forces drive its budget, and what the numbers really mean.

Two Steps Back: Alabama's Structural Deficit

Alabama's latest budget crisis points to a deeper problem that can't be fixed with short-term measures: The state doesn't take in enough money from year to year to support state services at an adequate level. Economists call this built-in shortfall a structural deficit.

Read full fact sheet.

Three Tests of Government Accountability

Recent legislative sessions have seen many proposals for improving government accountability. ACPP believes that accountability deserves a better definition than the debate has offered so far.

This fact sheet This fact sheet describes three tests that an accountable state government must meet.

Alabama's Legislative Process: Get Involved

Most people recognize the vital role that voting plays in a democracy -- even if they don't vote. But fewer understand the citizen's role in lawmaking. Using your power as a constituent to influence legislators is called lobbying.

This fact sheet This fact sheet is a step-by-step guide to citizen participation in Alabama's legislative process.

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