Budgeting Without Revenue

Call it sensible and austere or say it spills blood on the hands of Alabama’s Legislature, but don’t look for any new tax revenue in it. It’s the new budget crafted by Alabama’s Republican-controlled House that slashes funding for programs across state government.

The proposed $1.3 billion budget cuts $345 million from the general fund, about 20 percent, and would imperil services from Medicaid-paid dialysis to agriculture safety inspections and court staff, various department heads say.

At the same time, the Legislature has authorized tax breaks for companies doing aircraft repair, research and development and more, further curtailing income, and there’s a serious proposal to divert some public education funds toward quasi-private charter schools, even business-operated online schools.

While lawmakers avoid the tax word at all costs, state Finance Director Marquita Davis told agencies to look for ways to raise user fees.

Ignoring the example of state lawmakers, voters in Cullman County approved a tax increase for their schools.

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By Nedra Bloom

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