Alabama Governor Robert Bentley took to the podium Tuesday night to deliver his 2014 State of the State Address. The Affordable Care Act was among many anticipated topics. Some Democrats want the governor to expand Alabama’s Medicaid program, but Governor Bentley said it is pushing the nation deeper into debt.
“Our great nation is $17.2 trillion in debt and it increases by two billion dollars every single day. That is why I cannot expand Medicaid,” said Governor Bentley, who is part of Alabama’s Republican Party.
However, he does want to expand education. Governor Bentley announced he will include more funding for prekindergarten programs, along with a pay hike for teachers.
“Last year, teachers received a two percent pay raise. This year, I’m proposing another two percent increase for our teachers and our support personnel,” proposed Governor Bentley.
Yet, in October of 2013, Chairman of the Senate's Education Budget Committee—Senator Trip Pittman—said the state owed $163 million to a trust fund called the Rainy Day Account. He said he does not know where the governor plans to get the money for another pay raise.
For now, lawmakers will work to balance a budget and push through another election year.