By: Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter
According to official budget reports from the Legislative Fiscal Office, under the leadership of Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, the Office of the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives has spent more money every year since his election, more than doubling on average from the previous quadrennium under Democratic Speaker Seth Hammett.
From 2011-2014, Speaker Hubbard’s annual spending has averaged $1,931,811. The four years prior, former Speaker Hammett’s in-office expenses averaged $748,395.
In 2013, the last full year of finalized spending disclosures, the Office of the Speaker spent a whopping $2,257,179, a budget totaling more than that of the Office of the Governor ($1,187,616) and the Alabama Ethics Commission ($1,822,177) this fiscal year.
Listed below are total actual appropriations given to Office of the Speaker of the House over the last eight years, as reported by LFO:
(D) 2007 – $669,331
(D) 2008 – $684,855
(D) 2009 – $786,801
(D) 2010 – $851,511
(R) 2011 – $1,222,444
(R) 2012 -$1,890,059
(R) 2013 – $2,257,179
(R) 2014* – $2,357,565
In addition, since his Storming of the State House in November 2010, Speaker Mike Hubbard has not only been budgeted more money annually, he has broken his budget by at least six figures every year, with his office spending over $900,000 more than allotted in both 2012 and 2013.
Below are the budgeted versus actual appropriations for the Speaker’s Office during Hubbard’s tenure.
2011 – $1,093,700 budgeted, $1,222,444 spent
2012 – $1,301,416 budgeted, $1,890,059 spent
2013 – $1,356,351 budgeted, $2,257,179 spent
Alabama Political Reporter has covered Speaker Hubbard’s use of taxpayer dollars before. Last year, APR reported on Hubbard’s use of nearly $3,000 on silk plants for use in a newly refurbished cloakroom on the fourth floor of the State house in Montgomery.
“When Mike showed me that room,” one GOP legislator toId APR at the time, “I thought, I am not going near that place. If people find out I’m hanging out in a room like this I’d never get re-elected.”
Notably, the Speaker never paid for the plants personally, instead reimbursing the State of Alabama from his campaign committee, Friends of Mike Hubbard.
Our original story on the saga of the silk plants can be viewed here.
Mike Hubbard was elected Speaker of the House in December 2010 after he orchestrated the electoral takeover of the legislature in the November 2010 election.
*budgeted, not yet finalized expense