• 79°

State budgets set to go to Senate

As the Legislative session draws to a close, lawmakers have busily been working on its main objective — budgeting.

The House passed a General Fund budget Tuesday that provides funding for most state agencies at level amounts to this year’s funds, amounts that were recommended by Gov. Bob Riley earlier this year.

“It still has some cuts in it,” said Rep. Alan Boothe, D-Troy, who voted in favor of the budget along with all other 103 House members.

The $1.6 billion budget won’t allow for much excess spending and could even call for some agencies to layoff workers, the Associated Press reports.

But, Boothe said he thinks this budget will keep Pike County’s agencies afloat as they are.

“Agencies are funded pretty much like they are now,” he said. “We did the best we could about funding agencies level.”

Boothe said the budget, which will be for the next fiscal year beginning in October, was padded by federal funds for the second year in a row. If conditions don’t improve financially in this year, he said it could mean bad news for the future.

“I think we’ve got a train wreck coming down the road,” he said.

The budget will now go to the Senate for a final OK.

Also coming before the Senate is the state Education budget, which met approval in the House last week and a Senate Committee Tuesday morning.

That budget is $5.5 billion and is nearly identical to the one passed by the House, the AP reports.

The difference comes in an $850,000 increase for the two-year college chancellor’s office that will bring its funds back to the $5.9 million it gets this year.

The budget as it is now will fund state-funded teacher positions, ensuring at least those funded at the state level will be offered in Troy and Pike County schools in the next school year.

Local superintendents have expressed support of this budget, that while it doesn’t leave room to grow, is better than many alternatives. Troy University also supports the budget passed by the House.

Both budgets will go before the Senate for approval.