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1/17/14 Group Watch: 2014 State of the State Address

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, in his state of the state address, said that job creation remains his top priority. The governor called for new job-training and creation initiative, an expansion of education programs including a $10 million increase in funding for pre-k and a 2-percent pay raise for the state’s teachers. The governor also attacked the Affordable Care Act saying it did nothing but create a culture of dependence on government. The governor called for a 4-percent conditional raise for state employees. The raise would come only if funds are available. The Legislative Fiscal Office has projected a decline in receipts to the General Fund in the coming year. Legislative leaders voiced compassion for an employee pay raise, but say that the anemic General Fund and the demands of Medicaid make this quite a challenge. The governor praised legislators for the progress made replenishing the Rainy Day Fund, but added the responsibility is yet to be totally fulfilled. Prior to the governor’s speech, it was boring political theatre. Tea Party groups throughout the state rallied against Common Core curriculum in Alabama’s schools, and one state senator argued that his daughter’s fifth-grade reading assignment about the benefits was socialist indoctrination of the state’s youth. Senate leaders say they will not take up the issue, and the governor did not address the matter in his speech.

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