State of the State Address

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In his annual State of the State Address last night, Gov. Bob Riley made it clear that he won't support any broad revenue increases until the Legislature has taken steps to build the public's trust in state government.

The governor also wants a Special Session to deal with accountability and reform before lawmakers tackle budgets.

The governor told a joint session of the House and Senate that he is proposing nearly two dozen accountability and government reform bills.

Riley says his budget proposal will not include broad-based tax increases, but will cut an additional $300-million from the budget on top of the more than $400-million in spending cuts that are already in place.

The governor did say more money should be invested in education and announced that his budget does increase spending by $87 million for textbooks, classroom supplies and teacher training. He’s also proposing expanding the Alabama reading initiative.

On the matter of healthcare, Riley says unless state government addresses the skyrocketing costs of Medicaid and public employee health and retirement benefits, Alabama will not have the resources to accomplish anything else.

Riley also said he will continue to lead efforts to protect Alabama’s military bases from closure or downsizing when the next round of federal base closings takes place next year.