Legislature prioritizes government efficiency

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Government efficiency has been and continues to be a priority for me and many of my legislative colleagues. In 2011, Gov. Bentley set out to save the state $1 billion and called it “The Road to $1 Billion in Savings.” Recently, Gov. Bentley announced that not only has the state exceeded the $1 billion mark but that it was also a year ahead of schedule. The cuts come from consolidating and streamlining state agencies, workforce right-sizing, and pension reform, among others. I applaud the work the governor and the legislature has done to ensure that we are using our resources to fund state government efficiently and effectively.

These cost saving measures, which were implemented starting in 2011, are estimated to save the state $1.137 billion a year. This will undoubtedly affect the General Fund budget as well as the Education Trust Fund budget. The process to save $1 billion was thoroughly researched with every aspect of state government reviewed. Each state agency was carefully reviewed to identify ways in which we can reduce costs through agency streamlining and realignment. The Department of Finance, Department of Corrections, Department of Labor, the Legislature, as well as many others, have all had a reduction in costs that will ultimately save the state $49.5 million per year. Additionally, pension reform measures for state employees, which were applied in 2011 and 2012, will save the state an estimated $345.6 million per year. We have also taken a hard look at contract negotiations for state agencies to see where we can save money. Through these re-negotiations we are looking to save $28.8 million per year.

The 2014 Legislative Session has begun and I hope to provide an update to what is happening in the legislature in my next column. Finding smart ways to save the state money and allow it to run more efficiently is an ongoing process and I hope we can continue this through meaningful legislation this year. Like so many Alabamians, we need to live within our means and have smaller, more efficient state government. As always, please contact me if I can be of any assistance to you or your family.


Slade Blackwell represents parts of Shelby and Jefferson counties in the Alabama State Senate.