BP payout’s possible effect on state budget

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - As lawmakers prepare for a looming special session to determine the fate of the state general fund, a hefty payout from BP following the 2010 oil spill has the ability to impact what will go on.

"Hopefully there's a payment up front that will at least soften what we've got to do in this special session," said Representative Mike Ball.

"You really don't want to spend money that's one-time money on something that's a reoccurring expense," said Representative Jim Patterson. "But it does give us some options to get through next year."

Lawmakers say the 18-year settlement plan won't be a cure-all especially because the spill caused some of the general fund problems.

"That money is going to pay back what we lost in taxes and revenue," said Rep. Patterson.

"It still doesn't get us where we need to be but it's certainly a big help," said Rep. Ball.

If the money begins flowing before the end of the fiscal year, it can give lawmakers more short-term option as they struggle to keep funding basic government functions.

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