Alabama legislators go into the session expecting to have to cut
the education budget for the second year in a row - something no
current member of the Legislature has ever had to do.
The school budget shrank from $6.7 billion in fiscal 2008 to
$6.3 billion this year.
But the governor has had to slice it to $6.0 billion due to dwindling tax collections.
The Legislature's fiscal experts are predicting a drop to $5.7 billion for the fiscal 2010 budget.
That's a $1 billion fall from 2008 to 2010.
For this year, the Legislature approved a $2 billion General
Fund budget to finance non-education agencies, but the governor has had to trim it to $1.8 billion due to the recession.
Next year's forecast from fiscal experts is $1.4 billion.
Gov. Bob Riley and legislative leaders say there is no sentiment
for a general tax increase.
Some legislators are looking at trying to tax gambling.
Others are hoping Congress will help the states by completing an
economic stimulus package.
For Alabama, $3 billion could be at stake.