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Incoming General Fund chair cautions on tax rebate

The incoming chair of the House Way & Means General Fund Committee is hopeful that state government revenues will increase in 2023, even though some are predicting a recession early in the coming year.

During a recent appearance on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” State Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville) discussed what he expects next year’s economy will look like in the Yellowhammer State.

“We are seeing some early projecting about what 2023, 2024, into 2025 could look like,” Reynolds said, “and there are some that say maybe this recession will look like a growth recession. In other words, maybe we don’t drop below the line where we’re at and instead of having a 9% increase in the General Fund; maybe we see a 1% increase going into the 2024 session.”

The Alabama lawmaker said the current conditions in the state’s economy suggest they don’t have too much to worry about when it comes to the budget.

“I just see a confidence in spending in Alabamians, and yes, that is stood up some by federal dollars and inflation” he said. “But, I think Alabama’s going to hold strong.”

Reynolds believes the state’s revenue will continue to grow, but also has a warning for some of his colleagues.

“I’m giving words of caution,” he said. “I know some of my colleagues are adamant about a tax cut and I think my comment is to those individuals that I certainly would like to have them sitting in my seat, not just in the last few weeks as the budget chair, but with being on the General Fund for the last four and a half years, and understanding the needs of so many agencies … there’s still additional needs that are vital to service to all Alabamians, so I think we just have to be cautious with that.

“I certainly hope that if it’s the wishes of the body that we do some type of rebate, I hope it would be just that, a one-time rebate.”

While some Alabama Democrats would like to see the extra funds go toward an expansion of Medicaid in the state, Reynolds said it’s unlikely that would pass.

“I do not sense an overwhelming support of a broad expansion of Medicaid,” he said. “But … it’s ok for us to have the conversation and begin to look at small pockets, you know we did that last year, we did a small expansion to assist our ambulatory services in Alabama, and I think that was of great benefit. We’ve already had meetings about some of those small pockets, so I’m not going to be afraid to sit down and have the conversation, but we’ll have to weigh that out cautiously.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” Weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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