The legislative budget proposal calls for cutting auditor’s budget in half

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MOBLIE, Ala. (WKRG) — Alabama Legislators reconvened in Montgomery Monday after postponing the regular session for the coronavirus outbreak. One of the biggest items on the agenda is the general fund budget, which has already passed out of the Senate Finance Committee. Along with that budget proposal come deep budget cuts to the office of state auditor.

Originally, at least one legislator proposed abolishing the state auditor’s office altogether. But that would have taken a constitutional amendment and a vote of the people.

Now the proposed general fund budget calls for a 47 percent cut in the budget of the auditor’s office, something current state auditor Jim Zeigler says is pure retaliation for his past actions.

“I have questioned too many things in Montgomery, I’ve opposed two many of the insiders’ projects. The straw that broke the camels back may have been taking the lead in blocking the I-10 toll bridge,” said Zeigler.

But the auditor goes on to say it may not be only him, but his wife Jackie as well. She took a leadership roll in defeating a vote in March to change the elected state school board to one appointed by the Governor.

“We were able to defeat that amendment 75 percent ‘no’,” he said.

Zeigler says he thinks the budget will pass the Senate, but does not know if it will pass the house. However he says if the cuts to his office do happen, state property inventory audits would come to a halt. He says he will look into soliciting trained volunteers to conduct audits.

“And ultimately, they would report to me and I would be responsible,” said Zeigler.

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