Gov. Bentley vetoes austere General Fund budget

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Governor Robert Bentley addresses a crowded room at Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge on Monday, April 20. (Photo: Laura Christmas/WHNT News 19)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Gov. Robert Bentley has vetoed an austere general fund budget that he said would hurt the people of Alabama.

Bentley says the budget approved by lawmakers Thursday night is unworkable and will hurt the people of Alabama. He vowed to bring lawmakers back into special session this summer.The budget cuts $200 million from state agencies after lawmakers failed to agree on tax increases or revenue. The budget cuts funding to Medicaid, the Department of Human Resources, prisons and the Department of Mental Health by about 5 percent. Other state agencies would see deeper reductions

The House of Representatives overrode Bentley’s veto, but the Senate had adjourned for the session so the action was meaningless. The veto leaves state agencies without a spending plan for fiscal year that begins Oct 1.

The action came after months of unsuccessful behind-the-scenes negotiations by legislators on revenue ideas and warnings by Bentley that the cuts would cause dramatic reductions in state services.