Riley sets proration at 12.5 percent

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Gov. Bob Riley has declared the state education budget in proration in the amount of 12.5 percent - a rate higher than education officials had expected.

The budget cuts announced Monday will mean across-the-board reductions in spending on grades K-12 and higher education. Education officials had braced for about a 7 percent cut.

Riley said Monday he will use $218 million from the state's "rainy day" fund to lessen the proration effects. Alabama has $437 million in a "rainy day" fund that was approved by voters in November.

Riley also announced a state hiring freeze.

State law prohibits deficit spending. When tax collections fall below appropriations, state law requires the governor to declare "proration" and announce spending cuts.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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