State’s general fund cut

Published 4:20 am Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gov. Robert Bentley on Friday declared 10.6 percent proration for the state’s General Fund for the remainder of the fiscal year, blaming costs associated with the recovery from April tornadoes and stock market conditions during the last quarter of 2011.

The cuts do not affect education funding for public schools.

“We have pursued every possible option in order to avoid proration; however, this step must be taken,” State Finance Director Dr. Marquita Davis said.  “While proration is difficult, it is necessary to balance the budget, which is constitutionally required in Alabama.”

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Proration means stage agencies funded by the General Fund — including the departments of corrections, mental health, human resources and others — will be forced to reduce their expenses through the current fiscal year.

Many of those agencies have already endured cuts over the past two years.

“Just as families must reduce their spending when money is limited, government must also reduce its spending,” Bentley said. “We must live within our means, and we will make financial decisions that honor our commitment to taxpayers to keep a balanced budget.”

“Looking ahead, there are encouraging signs such as an unemployment rate that is now down to 7.8 percent.”

Also, we have announced more than 17,000 new, future jobs.  Unfortunately, the General Fund Budget has no growth revenues, so it will take longer to respond to the economy improving,” Bentley said.