MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Legislature convenes
Tuesday for a recession-driven session with less money to spend.

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

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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