The Alabama Senate on Thursday approved a series of bills that address the state’s general fund budget and appropriate money to a wide range of areas, including prison construction and programs to aid children.
“This is the first time in my extended life that I think Alabama has been in such a position,” said Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, speaking before passage of Senate Bill 108. “We have the largest budget that we’ve ever had.”
SB108 appropriates a portion of the state’s $2.7 billion general fund budget to pay off $156 million in state debt, Albrighton said, and $100 million will go into a reserve fund.
The bill appropriates $30 million toward a portion of the state’s two new prison construction projects, with $32 million set aside for maintenance of those prisons, Albritton said. The legislation also increases funding for mental health and includes money for two additional crisis diversion centers.
The Senate also passed SB110, which includes a 4 percent pay raise for state employees, and SB 107, which transfers $40 million from the state’s allocation of a national tobacco settlement to the Children Trust Fund, which is used by state agencies to pay for programs for children.
To learn more about these appropriations, see this spreadsheet.
Senate members also passed SB109 that sends $169,633 to the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, as well as SB191, which appropriates $97 million of Alabama’s portion of American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Small Business Credit Initiative Fund, which are to be used for small business loans and venture capital projects.
“A lot of good things for the people of the state of Alabama,” Senate pro tem Gred Reed, R-Jasper, said just before the Senate concluded the day’s work. “Paying back our debts. Putting money in good places.”