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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lawmakers Learn Bentley Administration Budget Principles

David Perry, Gov. Robert Bentley's new finance director, outlined Tuesday during a budget hearing the governor's principles for budgeting in what is could be multiple years of difficult budget decisions.

Here's what Perry had to say about the Bentley administration budget principles:

1) Conservative budgeting.
"We must take a more conservative and responsible approach to the process of the budget," Perry said. "We can’t afford to continue to put our schools through this budgeting process. Proration cannot always be entirely avoided, but it can be minimized. It can be reduced."

2) A better job of allocating resources.
"We cannot continue to fund programs at the same level and proportion as we have in the past," Perry said.

3) Prioritizing people over projects.
"You’re going to have some very difficult decision in the next few years and particularly in the next four months," Perry told lawmakers. "Our job will be to help you understand what the consequences will be of the budget decisions we’ll make over the next few months.

4) Working with Legislature on the front end of budgeting process

5) Structural long-term reform
"We can’t grow our way out of a hole this big," he said of the deficits the state is facing, particularly in the General Fund. "What we really have to look at is the fundamental realignment and restructuring of state government."
Perry said the governor's Commission to Improve State Government would play a crucial role in the kind of restructuring that will be necessary to reduce costs.

6) Everything is on the table
"In our judgment, based on the severity of the shortfalls, everything has to be on the table," Perry said. "We’re not only looking at cuts, we’re also looking at opportunities for revenue. "
Perry pointed out Bentley's desire on the campaign trail to look at finding a way to collect lost sales tax revenue from online sales.

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks

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