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Monday, February 28, 2011

Bentley declares proration

The day before his first State of the State address, Gov. Robert Bentley declared proration in the state's education budget effective immediately and announced plans to declare double-digit proration in the General Fund budget.
Bentley, on Monday afternoon, declared 3 percent proration in the education budget for the current fiscal year, which lasts until Sept. 30.
The governor announced plans to declare 15 percent proration in the General Fund after working with legislators on supplemental appropriations to protect agencies that are deemed a priority and provide necessary and critical services.
The General Fund provides money for most non-education functions of state government including Medicaid, prisons, and public safety.
"Both our Education Trust Fund and our state's General Fund budgets are based on unreliable revenue projections," Bentley said. "Now, five months into the 2011 fiscal year, it is clear that there is not enough revenue to sustain either budget. Proration is necessary to balance the budgets."
Bentley and most other officials had hoped to avoid proration in the education budget, but were certain proration would be necessary in the General Fund. Bentley and Finance Director David Perry now project that there will not be enough income to meet budgeted spending levels.
Without federal stimulus money, which helped prop up state budgets in recent years, Alabama has to fill several hundred million-dollar holes in both budgets.
The current Education Trust Fund budget has a $165 million shortfall while the current General Fund budget has a $110 million shortfall, according to Bentley's office.
"The taxpayers expect us to live within our means just as families and businesses are forced to do," Perry said. "No one is pleased that we have a revenue shortfall which requires proration in the budgets that were passed last year, but mid-year cuts are necessary for Alabama to meet its constitutional obligation for a balanced budget."

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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