Budget battles ongoing in Montgomery
By: Roger Bedford
I’m very excited about the progress being made on the rebuilding of the Wrangler Plant building in Hackleburg.
It is another sign of industry moving back into our area and agreeing to expand as well. It is a tribute to the fine work force that we have in our area.
The budget battles are very real in Montgomery. Unfortunately the new Republican supermajority continues to want to balance the budget on the backs of the working families in Alabama, including our teachers and State employees by shifting the cost of Government to them directly by cutting their benefits.
This past week we scored a victory in preserving the integrity of Medicaid in Alabama. The Republican supermajority had proposed cutting Medicaid by $184 Million dollars, which would have endangered the whole program.
They had planned on giving the money to the Department of Corrections to spend on prisons and prisoners. I thought this was a mistake.
As you may know Medicaid is an important economic engine for Alabama as well as a health care safety net.
Medicaid pays for approximately 78 percent of all nursing home beds in Alabama and 40 percent of children in Alabama get their primary health care from Medicaid and one in two live births in Alabama is paid for with Medicaid dollars.
As a long time supporter for Medicaid and mental health I decided it was time to stand up to the Republican supermajority and reverse the priorities that they had.
I said it was important to choose our seniors and children over free health care for prisoners. As such I had offered an amendment to the General Fund Budget to shift $184 million dollars out of the prisons and into Medicaid.
I am pleased to report to you that I was successful in passing that amendment and putting it on the General Fund Budget that passed the State Senate. This will allow Medicaid to be protected.
The funding for prisons will be subject to a constitutional amendment being voted on in November at the general election to divert that money out of the Oil and Gas Trust Fund to pay for prisons.
I feel confident that the voters in Alabama will make the right decision.
We cannot endanger our seniors and children because of misplaced priorities.
It his my hope that the House of Representatives and the Governor will go along with the Senate plan which passed unanimously to fund Medicaid.
I appreciate all of you who have contacted me in support of our seniors and children, as they must remain a top priority.
As always if I can be of any assistance to you do not hesitate to give me a call.
Roger H. Bedford, Jr.
Alabama State House
11 S. Union Street, Suite 738
Montgomery, Alabama 36130
Phone 334-242-7862 , Fax 334-242-9202
P.O. Box 370
Russellville, Alabama 35653
Phone 256-332-6966 Fax 256-332-6967
Roger Bedford is a state senator for Franklin County.