From the Office of Senator Tripp Pitman
MONTGOMERY – Lawmakers in charge of crafting Alabama’s education budget said today that by implementing conservative budgeting practices, the state completed the 2012 fiscal year with a balanced budget that did not include any midyear cuts or tax increases, while setting aside $14 million to repay money borrowed from the Alabama Trust Fund. The 2012 Education Trust Fund budget was the first in four years that was not subjected to midyear cuts, or proration. It followed budget cuts that equaled 6.5 percent, 18 percent, 9.5 percent, and 3 percent from 2008 through 2011.
Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), Chairman of the Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee, and Representative Jay Love (R-Montgomery), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Education Committee, joined students, teachers and local education officials at Wilson Elementary in Montgomery Wednesday to highlight the accomplishment.
Both Pittman and Love credited conservative, responsible budgeting practices and an increase in economic activity with ensuring that spending didn’t exceed revenues.
“It’s a testament to the new legislative majority that the first education budget we passed was balanced without midyear cuts or increasing taxes,” Pittman said. “Drafting a budget in the midst of difficult economic times is never easy, but we made the best choices to prioritize education spending and managed the money we had available to spend. In addition to covering our budget, we also had a surplus of $14 million that we were able to put toward repaying the state’s Education Rainy Day Account within the Alabama Trust Fund. This underscores our commitment to repaying the money the Education Trust Fund has borrowed from the ATF during the last quadrennium. Obviously the revenues the state received were a result of the hard work and economic activity of all the citizens across this great state.”
“In 2012 we were able to protect funding for K-12 education and fully fund some of the state’s proven education reform programs like the Alabama Reading Initiative, the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative, and ACCESS Distance Learning program,” Love said. “Fortunately revenues exceeded our expectations for the 2012 fiscal year and we ended the year with a surplus. The Legislature and Governor Bentley have a shared commitment to repay money borrowed from the Alabama Trust Fund, and we were able to put $14 million of the surplus toward that repayment.”