Posted by AL.COM, By Mike Cason | [email protected]
Alabama lawmakers today approved a General Fund budget for next year that includes an 8 percent increase for the state’s understaffed prison system and funding to put more state troopers on the road.
The spending plan includes money for a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for state employees.
Overall, the budget calls for spending $2.2 billion from the General Fund in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, about $137 million more than this year.
Lawmakers are still working on the education budget and are expected to pass it on Friday, which is expected to be the final day of the legislative session.
The Alabama Department of Corrections would receive $517 million from the General Fund, up from $477 million this year. The increase is aimed, in part, to hire 500 additional correctional officers and increase pay for officers.
The prison system is under a federal court order to add about 2,000 officers over the next few years. The system also faces allegations of unconstitutional conditions by the Department of Justice. An ADOC staffing analysis said prisons have about one-third the number of correctional officers they need.
The Alabama Law Enforcement would receive a General Fund appropriation of $58 million, almost $6 million more than this year. Most of that money is earmarked to add 50 state troopers.
The Alabama Medicaid Agency would receive the largest appropriation from the General Fund, $703 million. But that’s about $50 million less than Medicaid will receive from the General Fund this year. The agency was able to reduce its budget request because of money it is expected to carry over from this year because of savings on prescription drugs and other factors.
Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement praising the budget but has not signed it.