Tag: Alabama Budget

Extra Unemployment Benefits Ended Saturday

As of Saturday, Alabama’s unemployed workers will no longer receive extra federally funded benefits put in place to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Kay Ivey last month announced she was withdrawing the state from those programs effective June 19. Read more about her reasons and the effects on the unemployed in BirminghamWatch’s original reporting.
Governor Shuts Down Extra Help for the Unemployed, Says Workers Needed to Invigorate the Economy

Why Alabama Lawmakers Just Won’t Give Up the Grocery Tax

Legislative sessions most years bring a bipartisan chorus decrying the grocery tax as a cruel burden for low-income families, who are disproportionately people of color. And yet, the tax remains untouched in Mississippi and Alabama.

Along with South Dakota, those states are the only ones charging the full sales tax rate on groceries used for home cooking, from vegetables to flour to even baby formula.

“We exempt food for farm animals, but we don’t exempt food for babies,” said Chris Sanders, the communications director at Alabama Arise, a nonprofit advocacy organization. “It offends me, quite honestly.” Read more.

Ivey Wants 2% Pay Raise for Teachers and State Employees

MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey said she wants to give pay raises to state employees and teachers in the next budget year. In an interview Thursday with Alabama Daily News, Ivey said her state budget proposals, which are set to be presented to lawmakers next week, will include the pay raises in both the General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets.
Read more.

Lawmakers Approve Ivey’s $1.8B Coronavirus Spending Plan

Alabama’s elected leaders have approved a plan to spend $1.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief money, despite Senate leaders saying they were left out of the process before their vote Monday.

“Some meetings took place in our absence that we weren’t involved in and I thought that was inappropriate,” Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, told reporters.

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, said House members were worried about slowing down the process of passing the state budgets and getting relief funds to those who needed them immediately, but there was no nefarious intent behind their meetings with Ivey last week.

“The House was willing to step up and bring suggestions to the governor,” McCutcheon said Monday, “We were not working against the Senate. We were not working in secret. We were just doing our job as the House body.”

Ivey said in an emailed statement Monday that her “friendly” amendment to the budget was to ensure CAREs Act funding was made available immediately to those who needed it the most.
Read more.

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Ivey Signs State Budgets Into Law

Ivey Signs State Budgets Into Law

MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the state’s two budgets Monday after a unique and at some points tense final weeks of the 2020 regular legislative session.

“I appreciate the hard work of the Legislature during an unprecedented regular session,” Ivey said in an emailed statement.

“While we have yet to know the full impact of COVID-19 on our state, these budgets will ensure continuity of government, while being fiscally responsible. There is more work to be done, and I look forward to working with the Legislature in the days ahead.”

A $7.2 billion Education Trust Fund budget was approved, as well as a $2.3 billion General Fund budget, both for fiscal year 2021, which begins in October. Read more.

After Dispute, Ivey Sends Lawmakers Proposal for $1.8B in Coronavirus Spending

MONTGOMERY — A week after a public dispute between Gov. Kay Ivey and members of the Legislature about who should control about $1.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief money, the governor on Thursday sent lawmakers a detailed proposal for allocating most of it.

The proposed expenditures include money for state agencies’ COVID-19 expenses, businesses, nonprofits and faith-based groups and technology and infrastructure expenses. Read more.

Ivey Cedes Control of Coronavirus Funds, Chides Legislature for Spending ‘Wish List’

MONTGOMERY — After private wrangling between the Legislature and Gov. Kay Ivey over the authority to spend nearly $1.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief money, Ivey on Thursday publicly ceded primary responsibility to lawmakers.

“I have never desired to control a single penny of this money and if the Legislature feels so strongly that they should have that authority, I yield to them both the money and the responsibility to make good decisions – in the light of day where the people of Alabama know what is happening,” Ivey said in a written statement to reporters Thursday afternoon.

But, she said, she will not call the Legislature back into special session until it publicly releases a detailed list of how the money will be spent. And it better not include $200 million for a State House, she warned.

That proposed expenditure was on a wish list of spending circulated at the State House this week and obtained by Alabama Daily News. Legislative leaders disavowed any knowledge of the proposal. Read more.

Also in the Legislature:

House Passes Education Budget, General Fund Goes to Ivey

Budgets on the Move; Speaker Says No Other Bills Will Be Considered

A House committee Wednesday approved the Senate-passed $2.38 billion General Fund budget, putting it and the $7.3 billion education budget in line for final passage by Saturday. House leadership on Wednesday afternoon said it will not be taking up bills that aren’t directly tied to the budgets or local to members’ districts, effectively killing some senators’ proposed legislation. Read more.

Also in the Legislature on Tuesday:
Senate Passes General Fund Budget, Stakes Domain Over Coronavirus Funds

Push for No-Excuse Absentee Voting Likely Going Nowhere

Ivey Budget Proposal Includes North Alabama Forensics Lab, Taylor Hardin Addition

Gov. Kay Ivey’s proposed 2021 General Fund budget includes money for a range of one-time projects focused on mental health, forensic sciences and youth services. 

Ivey’s budget includes funds for a new forensic science lab in North Alabama and more beds at one of the state’s three mental health hospitals in Tuscaloosa. 

Also, money for renovations at the Department of Youth Services’ residential facility near Montgomery is included in capital project line items totaling $95.3 million.  Read more.

‘Difficult’ Budget Negotiations Ongoing

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama General Fund will pay for a health insurance program for low-income children, Senate leaders said Wednesday. But there are still other details in the $2.1 billion budget to be worked out Thursday, which might be the last day of this legislative session.

Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said Wednesday evening that the court system would not receive money from an Alabama Department of Transportation fund, a budget transfer that has happened for the past 10 years. Read more.