Rep. Phil Williams talks budget shortfalls and surpluses

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(WHNT)-  The Alabama legislature is in session and things are getting exciting in Montgomery.  Alabama District 6 Representative Phil Williams (R) stopped by WHNT News 19 to discuss how the session has been going in this week’s Leadership Perspective.

The biggest problem this session is the budget shortfall.  Reports say Alabama is two hundred million dollars in the red and solving this problem is a top priority for the legislature.  House Rep. Phil Williams says “The problem in Alabama, we have three problems that kind of prohibit us from going forward in a more positive way, and one of those is earmarking in budgets.  We do indeed have a shortfall in the General Fund, which is a small budget and it’s getting all the news.  We have a budget surplus in the the big budget, that’s the education budget.  We may have as much as two hundred fifty to three hundred million dollars surplus over what we had last year.  So until we can deal with the earmarking process, we are always going to have issues with that General Fund because it has no growth taxes associated with it.”

Using education money to supplement the General Fund is not a popular one amongst constituents.  Rep. Williams thinks that, “People are realizing that we have got to solve our problems.  We’ve got a situation with prisons, we’ve got a situation with other requirements in the General Fund that the people in Alabama expect us to fund.  Ultimately, we’ve got to figure out what the role of Government is supposed to be and fund it adequately.  Everybody agrees upon that.  And until we get to a place where we can have flexibility with budgets, we are always going to be dealing with a General Fund shortfall.”

Watch the full three part interview here: