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Ivey memo signals government belt tightening

By TODD STACY and MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — When campaigning for her next term, Gov. Kay Ivey routinely pointed to improving education as her key priority. 

But in later campaign speeches, Ivey hinted at another area of focus that has been rumored in government circles for weeks: government efficiency.

The day after the election, Ivey sent to state agency leaders a memo asking them to take stock of their use of state vehicles and report back to her office.

“As we turn our attention to the next four years, one of my top priorities will be to ensure that state government is even more accountable to the people of Alabama,” Ivey wrote in the memo obtained by Alabama Daily News.

Asked for a comment about the memo’s intent, Ivey communications director Gina Maiola said the purpose of the state vehicle survey is to gather information necessary to guide possible future decisions. 

“As Gov. Ivey has traveled the state over the past few months, she has said very matter-of-factly that she wants government to better serve Alabamians,” Maiola said. “I fully expect the governor to focus her efforts on keeping state government accountable to work most efficiently for the people of Alabama. I believe we will continue hearing from Gov. Ivey on this issue as we approach her inauguration and on into the next four years.”

Republican legislative leadership appear to welcome a little belt tightening. 

“I think it’s smart,” Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, said. Ledbetter on Thursday received the House GOP caucus’ support to be the next Speaker of the House. A formal vote by the entire body will happen in January.

“We have to prepare for the future,” Ledbetter said. “We can’t just do what’s in front of us. One thing I’ve stressed to our (budget) chairmen is that we have to be cautious in what we do and how we budget.”

Increased expenses related to inflation and the risk of a recession were themes at multiple State House meetings over the summer when budget committee members heard from various agency leaders about budget needs and staff shortages.

Senate General Fund budget chairman Greg Albritton, R-Range, who was raising concerns more than a year ago about inflation and the impact on state spending, said he was pleased to hear about Ivey’s memo.

“I think it’s a wise move on her part,” Albritton said. 

 

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