Wednesday, February 02, 2005
On this day:

State of the State: Some Questions

A few unanswered questions following the Governor's speech:

  1. Riley didn't specify how he plans to make up for the $250 to $300 million shorfall in the state's General Fund. Will his budget propose cuts in programs he didn't mention? Will he call for a bond issue? He mentioned the "All Kids" health insurance program...will he propose to fund it from the Education Trust Fund rather than the General Fund? His speech didn't give any details, other than to say that there were "no new taxes" in his budget and that Education Trust Fund revenues would remain earmarked for education. Sounds like the Gov's leaving room for negotiation.

  2. What accountability measures does the Governor support to address the problem of redundancy in higher ed? Does he support the giving the Alabama Commission on Higher Education more authority to identify and eliminate duplication of programs among colleges and universities? How his SMART budgeting initiative tie in to this issue?

  3. Are there any proposals under consideration that address long-term solutions to rising Medicaid expenditures? Medicaid eats up a large and growing percentage of the state's General Fund budget. Is the administration considering measures that would "free up" the market for health care in order to reduce costs?

  4. Riley said that he wanted to "defend the sanctity of marriage as a union between a man and a woman," but didn't specifically endorse a constitutional amendment to that effect. This issue is expected to be at the top of the legislature's agenda, and both Republicans and Democrats have come out in favor of an amendment. Does the Governor believe that an amendment is necessary, or is he merely deferring to the legislature on an issue over which he has little influence?