House budget panel weighs testimony on 2 plans to avert budget shortfall

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Tuesday, the House’s General Fund budget committee weighed testimony on two proposals to save money as an overall plan to avert a state budget shortfall.

Rep. Lynn Greer presented House Bill 588 a plan to convert two state holidays into furlough days while House Bill 590 from Rep. Arnold Mooney cuts longevity pay, a yearly payment made to state employees each December based on how long they have worked for the state, for the coming fiscal year.

During the public hearing, Mac McArthur, executive director of the Alabama State Employees’ Association, urged the committee to delay voting on both bills until a decision had been made on Sen. Del Marsh’s gambling proposal.

“Don’t balance the budget on the backs of state employees,” he said. “Are you going to look at those people who have served you over and over and tell them ‘We’re gonna cut your pay?’”

The pressure is on for lawmakers to agree on a plan to avoid across-the-board budget cuts because of a budget shortfall. Gov. Robert Bentley has urged lawmakers to pass a set of tax increases in order to boost revenue to the General Fund.

On Monday, the governor threatened to call a Special Session of the Legislature if lawmakers fail to approve his plan to increase revenue to the General Fund.

The committee chairman indicated that the panel will reconvene on Wednesday for a formal vote.

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