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August 2014 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

This month brings budget forecasts and unemployment numbers.

  • Gov Asks for Long-term Budget Plans: The Alabama Legislature is expected to face yet another shortfall in the General Fund when they return next year, and Governor Bentley is asking for long-term solutions. Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh said that bold changes are needed but does not know at this time what those changes should be. Marsh went on to say that combining the two budgets adds flexibility to the budgeting process since education revenues are growing. Other leaders say a review of the state tax code in needed to determine if exemptions approved years ago are still needed today. It appears that no new taxes are being considered.
  • New Unemployment Numbers: Alabama’s unemployment rate rose to 7 percent for the reporting period ending July 30. The rate increased from 6.9 percent at the end of June. State labor officials say it is not uncommon in the summer months to see the unemployment rate rise because school employees aren’t working during these months. During July the wage and salary employment increased by 19,400 over the year. Governor Bentley said that he is proud of the nearly 20,000 jobs created since last June, pointing to the increase in manufacturing jobs, which tend to be higher paying jobs.

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