Bentley Fights for Taxes, AARP Hopes to Stave Off Cuts

Aug 10, 2015

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says he will not back down as he battles with members of his own party over tax increases.

The governor says the cuts currently proposed to state services will cause a tremendous amount of pain to the citizens if lawmakers fail to plug a revenue hole.

The Alabama Senate will vote later today on a budget that slashes $200 million from Alabama’s state agency funding. Governor Bentley calls that budget unworkable and unacceptable. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says Republican senators remain largely opposed to any tax increases.

Bentley says he expects to call lawmakers back to Montgomery for another special session to address the General Fund budget but would not say when. State agencies are currently seven weeks from the start of the upcoming fiscal year. They’ve been unable to come up with a spending plan due to the stalemate.

AARP hopes that their senior services don’t wind up on the chopping block. Lawmakers have proposed dramatic cuts to a variety of state agencies including the Department of Senior Services and Medicaid.

Candi Williams is the interim state director for AARP in Alabama. She says those cuts would have a serious impact on important programs.

“We see critical services such as Meals on Wheels, nutrition programs, in-home care services are funded through the Alabama Department of Senior Services. What we’re really wanting is to make sure that these systems are strong and in place for not only our seniors, but the people that care for them.”

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has indicated he plans to call lawmakers into another special session. Williams says AARP is pushing for level funding for senior services.

The University of Alabama football team held its annual media day yesterday.

Coaches and players spoke to the media as they get set to begin the 2015 season in less than four weeks.

But before the season begins, The Crimson Tide is in the process of getting through training camp. Coach Nick Saban says the preseason camp is all about attitude.

“You can say I’m going to survive this camp or I’m going out there and thrive every day in this camp. In terms of working hard, pushing myself, trying to get in better condition and trying to be a player that can go out and dominate the competition.”

Alabama was 13-2 last season, winning the SEC Championship and getting into the first-ever College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide begins the 2015 season against Wisconsin in the Advocare Classic in Dallas, Texas.

A treatment center in northern Alabama plans to scale back its outpatient alcohol and drug treatment programs.

The Mental Health Center of North Central Alabama will end its Quest Recovery Center outpatient program by the end of August. Quest currently has around 100 clients.

The center's development officer, Bill Giguere, said the program was unable to break even for three consecutive years in an interview with The Decatur Daily.

Giguere says the program has been funded through the Alabama Department of Mental Health. But he says the state made some significant changes in the way it reimburses for mental health services. Local governments cut back their contributions as well.

Some services through Quest Recovery Center will continue, including drug and alcohol prevention services for school children.