MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — You could be getting some money back from the state of Alabama because of its budget surpluses this year.
The state Senate last week passed an $8.8 billion education trust fund budget, including $100 rebates per tax filer.
It’s less than the $400 rebates Gov. Kay Ivey called for in her State of the State address in March.
“Folks, this is the people’s money, and it’s only right … we give a fair share of this money directly back to the people of Alabama,” Ivey said.
The state’s budget writers say that the difference in dollars is for a few main reasons. For one, they expect an economic downturn and say $400 per filer isn’t feasible.
“If you look at the business press, they’re all predicting an economic slowdown. That means revenues will drop off. We’re already seeing that in our income tax returns,” Budget Chairman Sen. Arthur Orr (R- Decatur) said.
There are also several spending bills competing for the nearly $3 billion surplus. One eliminates the tax on overtime pay, another cuts the state’s grocery tax in half, still another creates education savings accounts for parents— altogether costing hundreds of millions of dollars if approved.
Lawmakers say sweeping tax cuts and $400 rebates do not mesh.
“We cannot do it all, the overtime bill being one of those, the grocery tax being another. There are a host of other bills, some of them better than others, but they’re all going to cost money, so how are we going to afford it?” Orr said.
Those tax cut bills must originate in the House so are not in the current budget passed by the Senate. Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed says of every tax cut and credit discussed so far this session, the grocery tax reduction has received the most attention.
“I think you will hear more about the grocery tax topic. I have heard that more from my colleagues than any of the other examples that you mentioned,” Reed said.
This education budget bill will next be considered by the House Education Budget Committee where it will likely see some changes. Tuesday marks day 19 of the legislative session, and lawmakers have 11 meeting days left.