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Legislators Ledbetter, Orr call for excess funds to go toward tax rebate

The money would come from the Education trust Fund, which currently has a $700 million surplus.

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Republican leadership in the Alabama House is considering a one-time tax rebate in the upcoming legislative session.

State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, called last month for excess money in the state’s Education Trust Fund to be directed to tax rebates and House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, has now also chimed in with his support.

Both Orr and Ledbetter shared their thoughts on the potential tax rebate while on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program.”

“[T]he economy is not going to stay like it is,” Ledbetter said. “We’ve been flush with federal money in the state – something like $60 billion has been dropped into our state over the last two years, and we’re not going to have the revenue going forward. So, I think a one-time deal, giving rebates, I’m not opposed to that. Matter of fact, I think it’s a good idea and something that I could support.”

As of July, the ETF was at $9.7 billion in revenue, exceeding its obligations by about $700 million.

Orr told The Yaffee Program that the rebate would need to be “hundreds of millions of dollars” to be significant, but said the details will still have to be hashed out. 

Ledbetter said it will be up to the budget chairs to look at the numbers and come to the right amount.

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The Legislature could go a step further and consider more tax cuts, but Ledbetter cautioned that this one-time infusion in funds can’t be relied upon for long.

“What I don’t want us to go is get us behind the eight-ball,” he said. “I’m not going to say I’m not for that … I think there are some opportunities. Last session, we cut $166 million, we cut 75 percent of the small business tax on personal property tax, which I think is a huge deal for small businesses in our state. I do think there are some opportunities.

“It’s finding where it’s going to hurt us less going forward because, again, I think we’re flush because what’s happened with the federal government putting so much money into the state … but we’ve got to make sure we’ve got enough money going forward to operate our schools and to run our agencies.”

Ledbetter said the people of Alabama deserve a rebate.

“This year they kind of took a hit with gas prices and things like that, and I think it’d be a welcome return.”

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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