In telephone conference calls with newspapers across the state a day after his State of the State address, Riley drummed up support for his ambitious package of economic incentives and support for schools that is likely to run into opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate and House.
Most legislators agree with Riley that Alabama schools will be in line to receive major funding this year, with the governor proposing $750 million and others raising that number to $1 billion.
The disagreement likely will come about how the school money is divided. Riley wants the money allocated according to school enrollment, which would favor bigger school systems such as Huntsville and Shelby County.
Its the fairest way, Riley said of his plan.
The bigger school systems have to have money to keep up with rising enrollment, he said.
But Cherokee County, which is a small school district, also is in desperate need of funds for programs and building projects, Superintendent Brian Johnson has said during his tenure.
The governor also has proposed a work opportunity income tax credit that would create an incentive for employers to hire low-income and special needs workers, moving more people from government assistance to work, he said.
The bill would establish a state counterpart to the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
Another proposal would offer incentives for small business health insurance