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Governor signs historic Education and General Fund budgets

Altogether, the state’s budgets represent $15 billion in appropriations.

Gov. Kay Ivey delivers the 2023 State of the State address. Hal Yeager/Governor's Office

Gov. Kay Ivey signed off  Thursday on a historic Education Trust Fund and General Fund.

Altogether, the budgets represent $15 billion in appropriations.

Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said the massive $11.8 billion ETF was the most challenging budget he has had to manage since he began handling the budgets, including when the state was facing proration.

The Alabama Legislature passed the budgets just after midnight last Friday after contention between the chambers, particularly regarding the General Fund Budget. Ivey signed off on the budgets despite some significant reworkings compared to her recommendation.

The Legislature notably cut her recommended tax rebate of $400 per filer down to just $150 per filer, making room for projects that weren’t even in the original budget such as the Lt. Governor’s K-12 Capital Grant Program and creating a new “savings account” that will allow money to be tapped more easily.

“I am proud to officially put my signature on yet another historic investment in our students, teachers and schools. Alabama is serious about changing the trajectory of student outcomes, and our steady progress in the classroom and this record-setting education budget prove that to be the Gospel Truth,” Ivey said. “We are expanding our award-winning pre-K program into some of our highest poverty areas. We are supporting the implementation of the critical Literacy and Numeracy Acts. We are, once again, increasing teacher pay, giving us even more of a competitive edge to recruit and retain the educators of today and tomorrow. We are investing in our two-year and four-year colleges. And thanks to the work of the Alabama Legislature, we continue making these wise investments while paying down debts, adding to our savings and returning the working people of Alabama’s money back to them through tax rebates. I have said it before, and I will say it again: Our students’ education is the single-most important issue facing our state, and Alabamians can rest assured that it will continue to be my top priority.”

The General Fund is also healthier than it has been in years.

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“As I said in my State of State address, we can be proud of that fact that during my time as governor, we have not once used the word proration, nor have we spent beyond our means. I am equally proud to announce today that with my signature on the 2024 General Fund that positive trend will continue. Alabama’s record-setting $3 billion General Fund is generational money which makes possible greater investments in vital public services while also significantly paying down debt to reduce the impact of future economic downturns. This landmark budget is historic for Alabama. It will positively affect many agency operations from State Troopers protecting our highways to mental health professionals. It expands support for their important missions while rewarding their hard work with a much-needed pay raise. This budget’s robust commitment to our citizens is equally matched by our legislators’ strong bipartisanship to swiftly deliver it to my desk. I am pleased to sign it into law.” – Governor Kay Ivey.

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

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