Senate passes $1.8 billion general fund budget framework

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Alabama Senate Republicans

The Alabama Senate passed a taut $1.8 million budget framework for non-education spending on Thursday, level-funding most state agencies and passing no tax increases that might increase revenue next year.

Montrose Republican Sen. Trip Pittman said the Senate’s proposed budget, while lean, provides adequately for basic services Alabamians rely on.

“This is a tough but workable budget for the people of Alabama,” said Pittman, who chairs the Senate General Fund Budget Committee. “It level-funds many state agencies, while increasing funds for Public Health and our National Guard units. I look forward to the House’s input and ideas on the budget.”

According to the Senate Majority Caucus, the FY17 budget increases by $2.5 million the funding for both Mental Health and the Department of Human Resources, and gives Public Health an additional $10 million over last year, on the heels of a tuberculosis outbreak in west Alabama.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh offered his praise to Pittman for his work on wrangling a budget proposal early on in the process, to ensure plenty of time for lawmakers to hammer out their inevitable differences.

“I want to commend Senator Pittman’s diligent work on getting the General Fund out on the 10th Legislative Day, one of the fastest in recent memory. Getting started on the budget process prior to the beginning of session no doubt helped everyone involved. I believe everybody in the Legislature was eager to pass the General Fund in a timely manner to avoid a summer of special sessions,” Marsh said.

The House will now take up the General Fund budget and release their own proposal. If the two chambers are able to agree on a final budget plan, it will move on to the desk of Gov. Robert Bentley, who has line-item veto authority.

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