Amid national economic instability and the state experiencing record revenues, Gov. Kay Ivey has committed to providing direct relief to Alabama taxpayers.
In a Monday statement outlining the state’s financial health, Alabama’s chief executive said the state’s fiscal outlook was “very strong.”
“Last week, we closed out the fiscal year, and I am proud to report to the people of Alabama that thanks to the conservative management of our budgets for the past several years, Alabama’s financial footing is very strong,” said Ivey.
Along with the Legislature’s conservative approach to budgeting and Alabama’s healthy economy, the state’s record revenues were bolstered by federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funds and other congressionally approved appropriations.
This revenue, according to Ivey, is “completely unsustainable” and stems directly from “reckless” federal spending.
“Let’s be clear, though: This is the citizens’ hard-earned money, and I thank each and every one of them for keeping our economy rolling and economic activity robust, even in a difficult climate,” she said. “While our budgets are balanced, we are recording revenues far exceeding normal levels. In fact, these revenues are historic, but completely unsustainable. No doubt, this surplus is a direct result of reckless spending by the federal government.”
As the nation contends with recession fears amid the inflationary state of the U.S. economy, Ivey warned that those calling for “permanent structural change” to state budgeting were doing so out of political expediency.
“Many predict – and I agree – a potential downswing in the economy is right around the corner. We must ensure both Alabama and her citizens are in the best possible position to weather any future economic circumstances,” she continued. “We all know the bills have got to be paid one day, and we cannot make permanent structural change because of temporary circumstances. Anyone who tells you otherwise is likely looking to score political points – just as our federal government has done with their massive spending.”
In recent weeks, prominent members of the Legislature have expressed their support for providing direct relief to Alabama taxpayers.
House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville), State Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) and State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) have each publicly conveyed their desire for the Legislature to tackle the issue during the 2023 regular session.
“And while the federal government acts recklessly, we, in Alabama, will be deliberate and thoughtful with our taxpayer dollars,” said the governor. “I have spoken to folks across the state, and people are feeling the pinch of today’s economy, and I have committed to them that I want to provide some relief to their pocketbooks.”
Ivey said she intends to work alongside state lawmakers to present a plan that provides relief to the citizenry. Part of this plan, said the governor, should include “some form of rebates.”
“As we move through the November election cycle, I will work closely with the Legislature to provide relief directly to the people of Alabama,” she said. “I will present a plan to the Legislature to allocate these funds in a manner that helps our citizens with the issues that we face today, while also considering our children and their future.”
“I do believe that some form of rebates should be considered, but rest assured that every option we are exploring will be focused on the interests of our citizens and keeping our people first.”
Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL