Alabama Senate passes state’s largest-ever General Fund budget
The Alabama Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a five-bill General Fund appropriations package, including the largest General Fund budget in the state’s history.
The first three bills were passed without any amendments, sending them to the governor’s desk. These bills were HBs 295, 331 and 320.
HB 295 is the annual appropriation made to the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. HB 331 is the standard Children First Trust Fund appropriation. And HB 320 raised pay 2% across the board for state employees.
The other two bills in the package — HBs 453 and 309 — both passed as substituted and amended, sending them back to the House for concurrence or nonconcurrence. Later in the day, the House concurred on HB 453, advancing it to the governor’s desk; the lower chamber nonconcurred on HB 309, sending it to a conference committee.
HB 453 is a standard supplemental General Fund appropriations bill.
Finally, HB 309 is the Fiscal Year 2022 General Fund budget bill.
Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Chairman Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) steered the bills through the process, including the floor.
He said that the legislature has worked aggressively this session to move a General Fund budget out of the Senate and House in a timely manner to give Alabamians and state agencies this much-needed support.
“Coming on the heels of a global pandemic, this has been an unprecedented year as we have worked to put together a budget that meets the needs of Alabamians and provides our state with the resources needed to operate well on behalf of the people of Alabama,” Albritton said in a statement.
“Given the increased urgency to consider and move budgets as we emerge from this pandemic, we have buckled our bootstraps and worked to swiftly move our budget out of the legislature and to the Governor’s desk,” he continued. “I am thankful to my colleagues in the Senate and House, particularly House General Fund Budget Chairman Steve Clouse, for the collaborative work we have enjoyed through this process.”
The spending represents a total General Fund appropriation of $2,482,799,471 — an increase of 3.74% from the current fiscal year.
“This is a good budget that will put our state on a strong path forward towards a better future,” Albritton concluded. “I look forward to seeing the benefits that these carefully, conservatively appropriated dollars will bring to the people of our state. I couldn’t be any prouder of how the budgeting process this session, which has resulted in the largest and most robust General Fund Budget in our state’s history, has been conducted.”
Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) commended Albritton on his diligent work on this budget.
“While states around the country are having to cut budgets due to economic hardships resulting from this pandemic, Alabama has passed the largest General Fund Budget in state history,” stated Reed. “This is a direct result of the conservative budgeting approach that our state has taken over the past several years and the resilience of Alabamians and our economy.”
Scofield also praised Albritton, in addition to Senate Finance and Taxation Education Chairman Arthur Orr (R-Decatur). The Senate on Thursday sent the Education Trust Fund budget package to the governor’s desk after concurring with the House-passed version of that budget bill.
“Lawmakers have worked tirelessly this session on both the General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets, and I applaud our budget chairmen, Senators Albritton and Orr, for pushing these momentous budgets through the Senate,” Scofield commented. “With the various challenges and hardships faced by the people of Alabama as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was high priority for the legislature to produce state budgets that supply the means necessary to continue moving our state forward and improving the quality of life for all Alabamians.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn