Lawmaker says “tenor may be changing” in budget discussions

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - State agencies are sounding the alarms as lawmakers work on budget plans that would require major cuts.

Senator Arthur Orr calls it a "real crisis" in state government.

“I think the temperature is starting to rise here in the legislature. I think legislators are starting to focus a lot more intently on the general fund budget, as would have been predicted, and really realize the true magnitude and scope of our problem," said Orr.

Governor Bentley's plan to increase taxes by $541 million dollars, and un-earmark another $187 million, has gained little traction in the legislature.

Instead lawmakers are crafting budgets with what they have.

Orr tells WHNT News 19 Medicaid, mental health, and Corrections would most likely see minimal cuts. But other agencies, like the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, could see cuts anywhere "from 15 to 20 percent."

Orr says, at this point lawmakers are seeking every avenue to save money, like considering ways to get rid of "double earmarks" and free up funds already tied to certain agencies.

But even so, Orr says they're running out of options.

"As far as true revenue raisers I believe the tenor may be changing in the days ahead."

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