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.