JSU Newswire
Jacksonville, Alabama

Lt. Gov. Windon Says It’s Time To Deal
with the 2001 Education Budget

Montgomery -- Lt. Gov. Steve Windom called on the Legislature and Gov. Don Siegelman to work together to rewrite the 2001 education budget.

Lt. Gov. Windom made the call at a Statehouse news conference in which he invited Gov. Siegelman and legislative leaders from both parties to participate.

“We can’t run away from the problem any longer,” Windom said. “We can no longer pretend that we are not in proration.”

Proration was declared two months ago, but no funds out of the education budgets have been prorated to this point. The next series of checks, expected to be sent out next week, will be prorated by more than 20 percent for the state’s colleges and universities.

“That is devastating,” Windom said. “We can’t allow any segment of education to unfairly bear the brunt of proration. The governor is now on board with the plan to treat all segments of education equally. With all of us pulling in the same direction, we should be able to make a difference in a hurry. And we don’t have time to waste on this issue.”

Windom called for the passage of a rewritten budget that equally distributes the cuts. It is the same legislation that was passed by the Senate in the special session last month.

“We must deal with the first-grader in Anniston the same way we deal with the junior college student in Selma, the same way we deal with the college student in Huntsville,” he said. “It is basic fairness.”

House Republican Leader Mark Gaines pointed to his caucus’ Four-Point Recovery Program as a way to deal with the issue.

In addition to the rewritten budget, the Four-Point Recovery Program includes this Rainy Day Fund, the Budget Forecasting Act and the Campus Consolidation Commission legislation.

“It’s time to rein in unsound policies and return to sound, conservative fiscal management,” Rep. Gaines said. “It is time to exert leadership in education."

Windom said the House Republicans’ plan had his full support.

“These bills will go a long way in dealing with the problems that we face in Alabama,” he said. “The first step, I believe, is passing the budget bill.”

Windom asked Sen. Jabo Waggoner, who is chairman of the Senate Conservative Caucus, to introduce the budget bill in the Senate today.


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