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Steve Clouse

Lawmakers begin 2016 session to familiar budget woes

Alabama lawmakers began the 2016 legislative session on Groundhog Day with familiar budget woes that could spell funding cuts for many state agencies.

The Legislative Fiscal Office on Tuesday told lawmakers that the general fund budget will have about $95 million less to spend in the next fiscal year. Acting Finance Director Bill Newton said the state will have 10 percent less than the amount Gov. Robert Bentley feels is needed to maintain government services, but did not give a specific figure.

The difficult budget comes after legislators spent much of 2015 battling over how to fill a General Fund funding shortfall. Newton said lawmakers face a "very similar"...

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