Franklin County D.A. frustrated about 2017 state budget cuts to his office

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. - The shortage of money in Alabama’s General Fund budget is taking a toll in many state-run offices. For years there’s been a group who has remained quiet about cuts, taking their lumps with every other agency.

Cuts in 2017 are expected to all but paralyze several district attorney’s offices, including one in northwest Alabama.

Joey Rushing

Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing

“It has really caused some major problems and a lot of loss in resources to our office,” Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing explained.

Rushing is used to doing more with less. He said he deals with the fallout of state budget cuts daily. His office is dependent on Alabama’s General Fund Budget to operate. Over the last several years his budget has been cut to the point he’s lost five of his office's 10 employees.

“I don’t even have enough to pay the current employees I’ve had,” said Rushing. “In fact we have had to let several people go.”

Rushing isn't the only District Attorney who is having funding problems.  DA's across the state are operating with a deficit. Since taking office in Lauderdale County, District Attorney Chris Connolly said his funding has been cut by 65%.

Rushing said unless the state legislature finds another source of funding for District Attorneys, he’s afraid he may be left by himself in the office.

“It’s not like crime is slowing down, it’s actually getting worse.”

Because of the budget cuts, Rushing said a couple of costly trials may have to be delayed because he can’t afford the cost of prosecution. He said needed experts to testify in certain cases are very expensive, and that’s money he currently doesn’t have.

Rushing said the past two years have seen record numbers of felony arrests in Franklin County.