About $46.8 billion. Billion with a B.
That’s how much federal COVID-19 relief money has gone to Alabama residents, businesses and government agencies since the pandemic began.
About $30.3 billion of that has been given directly to individuals and businesses to assist them, Kirk Fulford, deputy director of the Legislative Services Agency, told state lawmakers recently. About $6.3 billion was in the Paycheck Protection Program, forgivable loans to help businesses weather the economic drought caused by COVID-related shutdowns.
And nearly twice that much, $12.6 billion, has gone directly to individuals in stimulus checks.
The money had a big impact on the state’s record tax receipts for fiscal 2021, which ended last week, Fulford said. That’s especially true in the Education Trust Fund, where sales and income tax are the main contributors. Read more.
MONTGOMERY — More than $5 billion of unemployment benefits has been blocked from being sent out in Alabama due to concerns of fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.
That is an unprecedented amount and a problem seen all across the country, ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said.
“Since the pandemic, ADOL has received more claims than ever before, which has significantly increased the risks of fraud,” Washington said in a statement to Alabama Daily News. “Federal programs with increased weekly benefits made it even more appealing to criminals looking to defraud the system.” Read more.
MONTGOMERY — State Finance Director Kelly Butler is retiring Aug. 1 due to medical complications that might be associated with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Gov. Kay Ivey said today.
Early symptoms point to an ALS diagnosis, and Butler will undergo additional testing in the coming days, a press release from Ivey’s office said.
“Without exception, Kelly Butler has been the finest finance director to have ever served the state of Alabama,” Ivey said. Read more.