Governor Bentley Releases Agency Cuts in Budget Passed by the House

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Gov. Robert Bentley (file)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Governor Robert Bentley has released details of how government services would be cut in the General Fund Budget (HB1) receives final passage by the Alabama Legislature. The Alabama House has already passed the bill.

First, the Medicaid Agency would be slashed by $156 million. State funds to other agencies would be cut by approximately 5.5%.

“Alabamians have been clear that drastic cuts to essential government services are not acceptable,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “From public safety to public health, there are serious consequences to failing to properly fund state government. Taxes fund the services that Alabamians want and expect. The House General Fund Budget is unacceptable, and I hope the Alabama Senate will take a strong leadership position to avoid passing this unworkable budget.”

Specific cuts to agencies other than Medicaid include:

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

  • Closure of all driver license offices except Mobile, Montgomery, and Birmingham
  • Close 13 Trooper Posts
  • Shut down the Agriculture and Rural Crime Unit
  • Layoff Aviation Staff and Fleet Management Staff
  • Layoff 1/3 of all non-sworn personnel
  • Layoff 75 of 431 Highway Patrol Troopers
  • Layoff 30 of 147 Special Agents
  • Layoff 8 of 31 Capitol Police Troopers

Department of Public Health

  • Close Coosa County Health Department
  • Reduction in Licensures and Certifications
  • Eliminate Nicotine Patch Purchases
  • Reduction in Disease Control Staff and Regionalization of County Operations
  • Reduction in Staff for Restaurant Health Inspections
  • Reduction in Area and State Support Staff

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

 Transfer to General Fund

  • Layoffs
  • Loss of Federal Funds for Marine Resources and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
  • Closing of facilities, which could include several State Parks, Lands Division facilities, and Wildlife facilities. The size and scope is yet to be determined.

Department of Forensic Sciences

  • Closure of the Huntsville Morgue
  • Elimination of Fire Debris (Arson) Analysis

Department of Youth Services

  • Increase in approximately 700 new juvenile commitments due to loss of diversion grant
  • Layoff of personnel and closure of detention facilities
  • Juvenile commitment backlog will increase in the communities

Department of Agriculture and Industries

  • Closure of two diagnostic labs which test for deadly livestock diseases
  • Closure of the seed lab which will risk the purity and integrity of products for farmers

Department of Senior Services

  • Loss of $2.55M of Federal Funding (Federal 69%; State 31%)
  • Expanded waiting list beyond the current referral list of 7,100+
  • Increased costs by diverting clients from Medicaid Waiver program ($838 monthly) back into costly intuitional care ($5,900 monthly)

Environmental Management Agency

  • Increase in abandoned waste landfills and tire dump sites
  • Increase in illegal dumps
  • Deferred or eliminated cleanup of petroleum releases into soil and groundwater

Department of Commerce

  • Eliminate project recruitment efforts

Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs

  • Eliminate the Alabama Rural Development Office
  • Eliminate the Small Business Office
  • Eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Loss of Federal Funds for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
  • Loss of Federal Funds for the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG)

Military Department

  • Closures of up to 11 Armories that can’t remain open without electricity (13% of Armories)

Department of Labor

  • Layoff two of seven positions (Will leave only five employees in Mine Safety Division)
  • Reduced and delayed mine safety inspections that prevent accidents and fatalities
  • Eliminate training contract with Bevill State College for mine rescue teams