Governor Riley discusses new fiscal year

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - Thursday marks a new budget year for Alabama's public schools and already educators face budget cuts.

Governor Bob Riley has declared a 7.5% proration on the education budget. That is about 400-million less than expected for schools and those cuts put a spotlight on one troubling part of the state's education spending.

Another reason for the cuts, the governor says, is the ever-growing increase in healthcare costs.

Individuals in the public education employees health insurance plan, known as PEEHIP, pay two bucks a month for single coverage. The state picks up the rest of the tab. With more than 100-thousand enrolled, the tab is growing. Governor Riley says he has talked with House and Senate leadership about ways to handle those costs. The governor says while talks are taking place, no numbers have been put together for paying for those rising healthcare costs. House Majority Leader Ken Guin, a Walker County Democrat, believes those talks are premature until states find out what type of healthcare reform comes out of Washington.

The Governor also focused on ethics and government accountability during his Hoover visit Thursday.