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 examines what the General Fund does, what forces drive its budget, and what the numbers really mean.
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.
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 describes three tests that an accountable state government must meet.
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 is a step-by-step guide to citizen participation in Alabama's legislative process.