With the state of Alabama seeing record revenue due partially from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), some legislators have debated what the state should do with the extra money.
State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) has gained some support for a proposed tax rebate, while others have argued for keeping the extra cash in reserve for a rainy day.
Recently on FM Talk 106.5’s “Midday Mobile,” Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) discussed what the Legislature could do with the extra money.
“[W]e’re going to try and spend it the best we can, but all of our expenses have gone up, Pringle said. “The cost of concrete’s going up; the cost of steel is going up; so we start building roads and bridges and all that’s expensive.”
The Alabama lawmaker emphasized the point that the ARPA funds will not last forever, which means the Legislature needs to be extra cautious on how to spend those dollars.
“[I]t’s all going away and it’s going to end, there’s no more ARPA money coming down,” he said. “This economy is going to crash, you can bank on it. And when it does, our revenue is going to plummet.
“We could go back to what we were faced with in 2012 when we had no money.”
Pringle reiterated that the extra revenue coming from the federal government also caused increasing inflation.
“We have a lot of money now,” he said. “And our revenue goes up and down, up and down, and with the federal government borrowing billions and billions of dollars and pumping into the economy and giving it to us, all this money we have is money that’s been borrowed by the federal government. You taxpayers are paying for this, they just handed it to us, but it’s also what’s caused inflation, so all of our costs are going up because of the inflation.”
He also argued that it’s much easier said than done when it comes to passing big changes through the Legislature.
“This new class is going to be interesting,” he said. “They’re pushing all kinds of ways to change things, and I tell everybody nobody was more full of it than I was when I first went in.
“And you find it’s easier to sit around with your friends and talk about it than it is to do it.”