Govenor Robert Bentley's 2014 State of the State Address

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Alabama Governor Proposes Raises

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Gov. Robert Bentley is calling for a guaranteed cost-of-living raise for education employees and a possible increase for workers at state agencies.

In his State of the State address Tuesday night, Bentley proposed a 2 percent raise for the next school year. That's on top of the 2 percent received this year.

He recommended a raise of up to 4 percent for state workers. But it is conditioned on the state taking in more revenue than expected.
Alabama Governor Outlines Jobs Proposal

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Gov. Robert Bentley used his State of the State speech to outline ideas that he says will create more jobs and pull more people out of poverty.

In his speech to legislators Tuesday night, Bentley said he's creating a Small Business Advisory Council to help small businesses grow.

He's proposing a council of business and industry leaders to advise educators on workforce needs. He's also talking about making sure Alabama has properly trained workers by expanding the voluntary pre-kindergarten program and enlarging the dual enrollment program that allows high school students to take courses at community colleges at the same time.

Bentley says Alabama must create the opportunity for people to acquire the skills to get higher-paying jobs.

Bentley Defends Decision Not to Expand Medicaid

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Gov. Robert Bentley says better education and more jobs are the ways to help people rather than expanding government assistance.

Bentley used his State of the State address to the Legislature Tuesday night to defend his decision not to expand Alabama's Medicaid program under the federal health care law.

The Republican governor said Alabama can move up from being one of the poorest states in America, but not with a broken program that drags people into the downward spiral of dependency.

Democrat legislators are pushing for an expansion. They say it will bring health care to 300,000 Alabamians and create 30,000 jobs.

The governor recounted the 40,000 new jobs that have been announced since he took office in 2011. He said that's the way to get Alabamians out of poverty.