By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—A letter sent to members of the Alabama House of Representative shows that the budget crisis doesn’t play favorites.
Earlier this week the Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) sent an email to House Members notifying them that “no Members will be approved for in-state or out-of-state travel through the remainder of the fiscal year.”
According to the letter the policy will remain in effect until September 30, 2012.
The Speaker said the decision was made after he was informed by Clerk of the House Greg Pappas-—who oversees the House’s budget-—that the Legislature’s budget was in “dire straits for the remainder of this fiscal year.”
Hubbard said, “We are facing the most challenging General Fund budgets in generations, and as a result, all state agencies are having to make tough, but necessary, cutbacks to live within their means. Our branch of government is no different.”
Since 2010, the House budget has been significantly reduced according to Hubbard, and that proration cut legislative appropriations by another 10 percent late in this fiscal year.
Hubbard said, “This cumulative effect has created a serious strain on the Legislature’s budget.”
The letter says that the policy does not, however, prohibit legislators from attending a conference at their own expense, nor does it preclude them from using, “a scholarship or stipend to attend a conference.” Hubbard also adds, “If you choose this option, please use an abundance of caution in adhering to the state’s ethics code.”
According to the letter the travel policy will be reviewed in the coming fiscal year.