State House approves $2.5B budget

Published 10:06 pm Thursday, April 23, 2009

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Thanks to an infusion of about $1 billion in federal stimulus funds, the Alabama House on Thursday approved a $2.5 billion General Fund budget that protects the jobs of state employees and boosts funding for critical state services.

State Employees Association Director Mac McArthur said more than 1,000 state workers would have lost their jobs without the stimulus funds.

“It’s about the best ugly duckling budget you could get to come out after protecting jobs,” McArthur said. “I don’t believe there will be any layoffs under this budget.”

The House voted 101-0 Wednesday to pass the budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. It amounts to a sizable increase over the current fiscal year’s General Fund budget of about $2 billion, providing a boost for agencies including Medicaid and prisons.

Among its other features: It fully funds a program to provide health insurance for children from low- and middle-income families; provides funding to establish a statewide radio communications system for law enforcement agencies; and restores funding for a state public health program to test low-income women for breast cancer.