By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Sen. Trip Pittman (R-Daphne), Chairman of the General Fund Budget, said after the first legislative day of the 2016 Regular Session that his concentration will be primarily on the budgets being passed and signed by Governor Bentley during the Regular Session.
“We need to get the General Fund Budget passed so people will realize the reality of the amount of money we have and how far it is going to go so that people could act accordingly,” said Pittman.
“That’s the only thing that we have to do is to pass the two budgets and get them signed,” he said. Constitutionally, the only responsibility the Legislature has during Session is to pass two balanced budgets.
“We have less money this year than we did last year, so what we are doing is basically looking at last year’s budget. We are looking at Zero-based budgeting, but the reality is that these agencies level-funded last year, and were are going to have to look and reappropriate money. There is nobody that is sacred or protected. We are going to look at everything, because, ultimately, when agencies get disproportionate shares of money, that means that other functions of government are underfunded,” he said.
Recent estimates put the General Fund at a deficit of $43 million as opposed to over $200 million last year.
Pittman said, “Look at $1.08 billion dollars and you take away $42 million you are looking at about 2 or 2 1/2 percent lower than we had last year.”
Pittman and Arthur Orr (R-Madison), swapped chairmanships on the Education Trust Fund Budget, and the General Fund Budget earlier this year.