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Budget work ahead for Legislature

By By Kerry Whipple Bean
publisher

The second half of Alabama’s legislative session will likely focus on budgeting, but whether federal stimulus money is available for the general fund and education budget will determine whether state agencies see drastic cuts, state Rep. Alan Baker said.
Last year, stimulus funds helped shore up the education budget, leading to far fewer teacher layoffs than had been predicted. But Baker said that if the state does not receive extra federal funding from a new stimulus package, he expects “drastic cuts” in education and the general fund.
In the House, Baker said, the first half of the session has been dominated by local legislation, including a landfill bill that Baker is co-sponsoring meant to help the cause of those fighting a landfill in Conecuh County. The bill would state that if a new landfill application is made and the local governing body takes no action within 180 days, the application would be automatically denied.
Baker said legislation is still alive that would create incentives for new and existing businesses to create new jobs and to employ unemployed Alabamians.