As noted before, for the future of Alabama, Republican Governor Leutienent Kaye Ivey promised under the current leadership “more of the same” and more “budget cuts”

I hope not.

  •  Opelika-Auburn News article, “Bleak budgets will devastate courts across the state for fiscal year 2012. State courts received $152 million for fiscal year 2011, but will receive only $138.9 million for fiscal year 2012, according to Alabama’s Administrative Office of Courts. When costs must be cut, that means people will lose jobs. Hurst said her office must be trimmed from 18 staffers to 10 by Sept. 1. The case load, however, does not diminish.”
  • Tallassee City Schools lose their instructional aids for teachers due to budget cuts. Tallassee Tribune
  • Alabama Public Television shouts down Montgomery bureau and cuts shows “Capitol Journal” and “We Have Signal” due to budget cuts. Montgomery Advertiser
  • State forensic crime labs close due to budget cuts. WAFF

One impact of the budgets passed by the Legislature are summarized well by the Opelika-Auburn Editorial Board:

Whereas good people who have served the public will soon be unemployed, the public will really feel the brunt of it when their courthouse service time is slowed dramatically. The Lee County Circuit Clerk’s Office could lose up to eight of 18 staffers by Sept. 1. The amount of paperwork will not be trimmed accordingly. No, it will continue to pile up.

Who processes court dockets? The clerk’s office.

Who processes divorce papers? The clerk’s office.

Who processes traffic fines for the state, restitution for victims and paperwork filed for orders of protection? The clerk’s office.

And when the clerk’s office is running at half staff, what happens to this paperwork then? Courts move more slowly. Divorce cases linger. Spouses seeking protection may not get the official documentation when they need it.

All of this, courtesy of the Alabama state budget.

But money is tight, and we understand that. There is no magic wand to generate more revenue for state coffers. All we can do is continue to hope the economy turns despite the gloomy forecast. Medicaid continues to grow in dollars appropriated, while other important agencies shrink. What is the Legislature supposed to do about that, take away from the sick?

All we can do is hope the Legislature takes a harder look at priorities in Alabama and sends money to places that desperately need it most.

How does the Alabama Legislature value swift justice? Apparently $13 million less than it did a year ago.

Can this be said to be responsible budgeting?

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