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Ivey: Tax rebates for Christmas; school choice expansion in works

Gov. Kay Ivey is playing Santa to state taxpayers this year.

Ivey told “Capital Journal” host Todd Stacy she instructed the Alabama Department of Revenue to get direct $150 rebates to individuals and $300 to families. The governor proposed a rebate in the amount of $400 to individuals during her State of the State address, but said she’s pleased families will still see direct relief.

RELATED: Tax cuts, rebates inbound as ‘great’ session concludes

“My goal with the rebates at the outset was to provide some real relief for our people. And I thought the large rebate for individual taxpayers would help do that,” Ivey said on Friday’s Alabama Public Television program. “But it is what it is and the families will now have the $300, they’ll get that in time to spend for Christmas.”

Also on the program, Ivey recapped the 2023 legislative session and announced an education savings account (ESA)-style policy initiative her office has in the works. 

On the legislative session, which kept lawmakers busy from March until early June, Ivey pointed to victories with the appropriation of ARPA federal funds and the Game Plan package of economic incentives.

“I certainly commend the Alabama Legislature … for a job well done,” she said. “There’s a strong working relationship between the leadership of the Legislature and the governor. And because of that, we can be more productive.” 

When it came to last week’s special session to redraw Alabama’s congressional maps, Ivey also praised lawmakers saying they did the job successfully and “did not need any other distraction.”

RELATED: Ivey’s summer reading challenge inspires students

The biggest development from the interview was Ivey’s announcement that she’s working on a school choice expansion package for the 2024 legislative session, she says will involve the creation of education savings account (ESA).

“My goal is for Alabama to be the most school choice friendly state in the nation. I want us to have lots of school choices for our parents to choose from,” Ivey said. “And we’re going to be working, now already, on a bill, an ESA bill, an education savings account bill, to present the legislature next session, and I’m very optimistic that will pass.”

RELATED: School choice: Three proposals on lawmakers’ desks

School choice remained a subsistent issue in this year’s session, with action taken on expanding the 2013 Alabama Accountability Act – which lowered the income threshold for families to take advantage of the existing scholarship program. Proposals to create an ESA-style choice format were considered this session, but none made it over the finish line.

“It’s important for our children to have, our parents to have choices to send their children to school,” Ivey said. “Whether it’s public, private, homeschooling, whatever – the goal is to get our children a quality education.”

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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