Education front and center for legislators

By Kim Essex - bio | email

Tonight Governor Riley gave his annual state of the state address.

The governor's speech focused on education, the economy, Alabama's unemployed and the issue of legalized gambling.

At times, Riley drew rigorous applause as he called lawmakers on both sides of the isles to action.

Governor Riley began by touting the successes achieved over the past seven years of his administration but says there's a lot of work still to be done.

"Alabama has tremendous opportunity but a short amount of time to seize them so let's get to work," Riley said.

The governor went on to set forth details of his budget which includes the general fund receiving the same amount as this year and up to a 4% increase.

The education budget will see an increase of over 400 million dollars .

"No cuts for state agencies more funding for schools without raising taxes that doesn't sound like we are in a crisis," said Riley.

The governor commended lawmakers for passing the first part of his economic recovery plan, but urged lawmakers to pass the portion he is putting forth again this year. Which includes a fifteen hundred dollar tax credit for companies who hire the unemployed and a fifteen hundred dollar tax credit in counties with the highest unemployment.

And not surprisingly, the governor spent a great deal of his speech dealing with issue of legalizing gambling in the state.

"Any scheme that will legalize slot machine under the pretext of generating new revenue is the biggest hustle in Alabama's history."

The governor also called on legislators to fulfil those promises made to pact members.

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