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Bentley on Budget cuts, Blue Bell announces layoffs in Alabama

Governor Robert Bentley
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Governor Robert Bentley is weighing in on the general fund budget plan approved by the Alabama House. The package would cut $200 million from state agencies after GOP lawmakers could not reach an agreement on tax increases.  Representatives voted 66-36 for the spending plan yesterday.

Most Democrats voted against the budget after criticizing the cuts and Governor Bentley feels the same way…

“This is a totally unworkable budget.  It’s irresponsible and it hurts people.  I absolutely am opposed to the budget.  It’d be better if we did not have a budget than for this budget to be passed and them to override my veto, which will happen.”

Governor Bentley has unsuccessfully sought $541 million in new taxes.  Ways and Means Chairman Steve Clouse says he doubts anyone in the House is happy with the budget. He says talks will continue with state senators about possible revenue sources.  The spending plan now goes to the Alabama Senate.

A new study says there's a definite link between the massive BP oil spill in 2010 and a record number of dolphin deaths along the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Scientists say large numbers of dead bottlenose dolphins found stranded along shores since the spill suffered from lung and adrenal lesions caused by swimming in oil-contaminated seas.

The research paper backs up previous findings linking dolphin deaths to the oil spill.

BP has rejected this contention, and say the new study failed to make a link between the deaths and oil contamination. Instead, it says the dolphins were likely suffering from common respiratory illnesses.

Officials with Blue Bell Creameries say they had no choice but to let go more than one-third of their work force after shutting down plants due to a listeria outbreak. This will impact workers in Alabama.

Forty people were laid off at its Sylacauga Plant and there will be another five layoffs and 70 furloughs at other facilities in the state.

Jenny Van Dorf is a spokesperson for the ice cream producer.  She says this decision did not come lightly and they did everything they could to keep those affected on payroll…

“We reduced costs by operating more efficiently, conserving energy, anything we could do to keep our people on board.  But unfortunately, when we do return to the market, we’ll have limited distribution and production. Because of that, we had to reduce our workforce.”

The Sylacauga facility remains closed as cleanup continues despite no trace of listeria linked to its products that were produced there.  All products were recalled nationwide after the listeria outbreak.

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