MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Governor Kay Ivey boasted about Alabama’s booming economy during her State of the State address. Now, lawmakers must allocate the rest of American Rescue Alan Act dollars during a special session called by Ivey.
Ivey says the state has moved passed the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are still federal dollars on the table.
“I think we’re about over the COVID situation. We need to spend it on those things that really matter and make a long-term difference for our people,” said Ivey.
With $1 billion left, Ivey wants the money needs to be spent wisely. Part of the last round of ARPA money was spent on new prisons with tighter federal guidelines. Ivey doesn’t think that will be the case this time.
“I believe we will stick to broadband access and water and sewer and telemedicine,” she said.
In addition to ARPA funds – new state budgets need to be passed for the next fiscal year. Ivey suggests a $2.97-billion general fund that’s an increase from last year’s 2.74-billion-dollar budget. And a nearly $9-billion education trust fund, a billion more than last year.
“We are putting more money in there for math coaches, reading coaches, after-school programs,” said Ivey.
With a surplus in the state’s Education Trust Fund, Ivey wants to offer a one-time rebate.
“It will be distributed based on taxpayers. So if a husband and a wife are both working and paying taxes, they’ll get $800 for a family,” she said.”
The rebate would be $400 for individual taxpayers. However, lawmakers will have to sign off on those rebates. Some want to use the surplus to cut the grocery tax instead.
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