House approves budget with increase in state workers | Alabama News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a record general fund budget that includes a 4% pay raise for state employees.

Representatives approved the spending plan without a dissenting vote. The budget now goes to a conference committee to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions.

House Ways and Means General Fund Chairman Steve Clouse said the $2.7 billion general fund budget is “the largest general fund budget ever passed.” Growth was fueled by the economic recovery and increased Internet sales tax collections.

“We’ve really recovered a tremendous amount since the downturn of 2008,” said Clouse, a Republican from Ozark, referring to the period when the general fund shrunk to $1.6 billion.

The budget provides for a 4% wage increase for state employees.

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Most state agencies would also see an increase in funding. Under the plan House adopted, the Alabama Medicaid Agency would get funding to provide 12 months of postpartum care for new mothers.

Clouse said it would bring Alabama more in line with other states. He called the funding a pilot program and lawmakers will review how it works.

Medicaid pays for about half of all births in the state due to maternal income and lack of private insurance.

Women’s health coverage now ends 60 days after childbirth. Proponents say that’s before many pregnancy-related complications surface.

“Sixty days of postpartum care, or even six months, does not give health care providers, mothers, or babies the opportunity to effectively treat health issues such as blood pressure control or postpartum depression. -partum they can feel,” Jada Shaffer, regional director of government relations for the American Heart Association, said at a rally last week.

Alabama’s Medicaid program covers very few able-bodied adults. Alabama is one of 12 states that has not expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The Department of Mental Health is also experiencing one of the largest pending budget increases. The ministry obtains an additional 12 million dollars for the construction of two new crisis intervention centres.

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