Government must live within its means

Nov 21, 2011 No Comments ›› Admin

by Slade Blackwell

Trussville Tribune

November 2, 2011

We are all facing tough economic times, and the state of Alabama is no exception. 

Our budget outlook for the next few years is dismal to say the least and spending is down across the board, so like thousands of families across Alabama, we must cut back in order to make ends meet. In a recent study, the state reported having 1,645 fewer state employees on Sept. 30 of this year (35,993) from last year at this time (37,638), a 4.4 percent drop in employees.

These employees included those working for state agencies, boards, courts and other state government offices but excluded those working for public schools, colleges and universities, as well as legislators.

These numbers are encouraging because not only are we seeing a government cut back but a government learning to live within its means. Part of the reason why there has been such a significant drop in the number of state government workers is because the state simply does not have the money to replace the employees who retired or resigned, or got laid off in the last fiscal year.

In addition, Alabama has used up the $1.12 billion federal stimulus dollars that were awarded in fiscal 2009. Because the stimulus funds are now depleted and we are still struggling economically, revenue has not recovered providing us the resources to replace certain positions. Therefore, the next step is to downsize in state government, along with many other states that are in our same situation.

Gov. Robert Bentley has said that he is opposed to new taxes in order to fill the gap from a proposed drop in General Fund revenues in the next fiscal year. Instead, we are looking at each line of the budget to see what can be cut or reduced in order to put Alabama in good financial health. My hope is that during these hard times government will have no choice but to learn to live within its means as efficiently as possible.

This will serve the people of Alabama now and in years to come.