The Alabama Senate today amended and passed a House bill that requires repaying $437 million that voters approved shifting from the oil and gas Alabama Trust Fund last year to prop up general government spending through 2015. The Senate voted to cut off debate and passed the bill 25-7.
Because it was amended, it goes back to the House for consideration. HB94, entitled the People’s Trust Act, sponsored by Rep. Jay Love, R-Montgomery, establishes an escalating schedule to repay the ATF by the end of Fiscal Year 2026. The Senate amendment requires an automatic annual repayment if in any year the legislature fails to appropriate a scheduled repayment amount.
The Business Council of Alabama supports the effort to repay all funds transferred from the ATF, the state trust fund made up of royalties from oil and gas leases. BCA support for the transfer came with the understanding that elected leaders of the three branches of government would continue to reduce waste and duplicative state services and that no individual segment of the state’s economy would bear a disproportionate share of any financial burden. Voters ratified the $437 million transfer on Sept. 18, 2012, but there was no repayment requirement.
– Victor Vernon and Dana Beyerle
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