MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama’s fiscal year 2022 has ended on a strong note, with a nearly $2 billion surplus between the state’s two biggest budgets.
The fiscal year ended Sept. 30 and, based on the latest available data from Sept. 1, both the General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets brought in record revenue.
For the General Fund, that’s about $2.5 billion — an 8.15% uptick (about $94 million) over last year. The Education Trust Fund Budget is at about $9.2 billion, a 20% gain of about $1.6 billion from 2021.
Considering the surplus and current economic challenges, Gov. Kay Ivey is planning to propose a tax relief plan to the legislature next session, saying in a statement: “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.”
But some lawmakers would rather see long-term investments over one-time payments.
“Rebates and those things sound good, but is it sustainable long term? A one-time opportunity doesn’t solve a long-term problem,” House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D- Huntsville) said.
Daniels says he’d like to see lawmakers consider using that money on grocery tax holidays, universal Pre-K investments or even saving it for when the budgets aren’t so flush.
“We’ve experienced over the course of the last 20 or more years the economy going up and down, so we’ve got to make certain that we’re preparing for a rainy day,” Daniels said.
With the inflation the state has seen this year, Sen. Gerald Allen says one-time payments could be helpful.
“It’s important because taxpayers all over the state is hurting because of the inflation that’s coming and what we all feel,” Allen said.
Allen says he’ll be working with the budget committee chairmen next session to further discuss sending out rebates and how much they could be. Allen says however they decide to provide relief will be with consideration to inflation and any possible future economic concerns.
“The rebate will be a one-time issue, and certainly it’s a great idea and one that we need to explore,” Allen said.
The next legislative session starts in March of 2023.