sweet home, Alabama

via Mac "War Liberal" Thomason - here's some follow-up on the Alabama budget after the defeat of Gov. Riley's tax plan. The result is draconian cuts in basic services that are guaranteed to disintegrate the middle class, threaten public health, undermine education, and ultimately result in a low-skilled, unproductive workforce. All said and done, Alabama will be returning to the 19th Century.

9/13/03: Proposed cuts in Birmingham.
9/13/03: Proposed cuts in State agencies.

Mac comments:

Congratulations to the "Tax Accountability" folks for taking down such nefarious organizations as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and rural fire departments! And those sickle cell anemia victims really had it coming, didn't they? And the National Guard scholarships -- if they're so important, let private industry take care of it!

I can go on. And I shall. How about East Alabama Emergency Medical Services, North Alabama Emergency Medical Services, Southeast Alabama Emergency Medical Services, and West Alabama Emergency Medical Services? All cut! So was the Defibrillators for Cardiac Arrest Survivors Commission. Lots of diseases, in addition to sickle cell. Money for HIV, for Parkinsons', osteoporosis, kidney disease, blindness, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors. Remember: ALFA is objectively pro-brain tumor.

9/14/03: Schools see 4-day week as real option

"I think it's all very real, and I think we'll see the four-day week put on the table in March along with a lot of other things," said Dr. Mary Jane Caylor, who represents North Alabama on the state school board.

The state Department of Education will manage this school year by trimming $100 million for textbooks, library upgrades, computers, teacher training and classroom supplies. But next year, school systems could be forced to cut extracurricular activities, expand class sizes, and even consolidate entire school systems, Caylor said.

The state may not even open school until October for the 2004-2005 school year, she predicted.

9/22: Services for the poor in trouble

Lawmakers are having to cut $66.8 million, 5.25 percent, from the state's $1.2 billion General Fund to keep a balanced budget. The cuts, which will be debated when the Legislature returns to Montgomery today, are digging deep into the state's health and human services programs. Also on the chopping block, according to budget hearings, are: life-saving drugs to 100 AIDS patients; 3,000 subsidized day-care slots to low-income families; flu shots at county health clinics; the frequency of restaurant health inspections; and a state hypertension drug program for low-income people.

9/26/03: Both budgets sent to governor

Mac comments:

There are two separate budgets: an education budget and an operating budget that covers everything else. Riley sent the operating budget back suggesting minor changes; the House approved but the Senate had gone home for the day. The final versions should pass and be signed today.

Relatively little will be cut from the education budget: .25 of a percent. (Next year will be the big cut. The operating budget was slashed, more than five percent gone.

9/28/03: Budget cuts likely to trim trooper miles

Mac comments:

Alabama state troopers are going to be limited to 150 miles a day. There are only 300 troopers on patrol.

10/03/03: Courts will cut staffs one-third

The state plans to lay off 450 to 500 of its 1,600 judicial employees statewide by Nov. 28, including bailiffs, law clerks and others.
David Williams, the AOC public information officer, said all bailiffs statewide and entire staffs in court administrator offices would be cut. A court administrator in each office will stay on the job. Such offices help manage jury trials and send out summonses. The office in Jefferson County is called the jury management office.
Williams said the only way to comply with reductions in the state budget - the AOC is some $12 million short - was to cut people from a system that is 95 percent personnel.

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