MONTGOMERY – On Wednesday, the Alabama House passed the state’s proposed $1.8 billion General Fund budget with a 80-20 vote.
The budget proposal largely provides level funding for state agencies and includes a $70 million increase for Medicaid as well as increases for the Department of Public Health, the Department of Economic and Community Affairs, and the Department of Forensic Sciences. Also included in the budget is a conditional pay raise for Alabama state employees of up to 4%.
“When balancing our state’s budgets, we’re making the kind of tough decisions Alabama families are required to make every day,” said Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). “Unlike the federal government who continues to tax and spend to their hearts content, in Alabama we’re living within our means and using taxpayer dollars as efficiently as possible without raising a single dime in taxes.”
In 2003, Medicaid expenditures were only 17.89% of the budget, this year that percentage has doubled with more than 35% of all funds going to the program, the budget’s largest expense.
“With no increasing revenues and an expanding Medicaid budget we continue to have to do more with less,” said House General Fund Chairman Steve Clouse (R-Ozark). “I’m proud of the work we’ve done to maximize state resources and ensure that Alabamians receive the vital services they need.”
“I commend the Alabama House for passing the General Fund budget today,” Governor Bentley said. “We have worked closely with the budget chairmen over the last few months to create a General Fund and Education Trust Fund budget that is fair, balanced and allows us to operate state government within our financial means. I believe the General Fund budget we sent to the Legislature does just that, and I appreciate the hard work of the members of the House to pass it.”
The proposal now goes to the Senate for consideration.