Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday signed into law a bill to require repaying the Alabama Trust Fund after voters approved the transfer during a September 2012 referendum. It was the first bill passed by the Legislature in the 2013 session.
In August 2012, the BCA’s board of directors during a meeting in Point Clear voted to support the referendum under two conditions:
1) The Alabama Legislature enacts legislation that binds successor legislatures to repay all funds to the Alabama Trust Fund;
2) That our elected leaders in each branch of state government reaffirm their efforts to eliminate waste and the duplication of services and work to instill confidence among the citizenry that our government operates as efficiently as possible.
The September referendum was necessary in order to prop up the state’s general fund budget. The BCA recognized that longstanding funding issues placed a cloud of funding uncertainty over the agencies of the State of Alabama which provide critical services.
“We made a commitment to the voters that the Alabama Trust Fund would be repaid, and we are fulfilling that commitment,” Governor Bentley said in a release following the event. “We are also working to find more savings and make government more efficient. Over the last two years, we have identified $750 million in savings. From that total, more than $528 million in savings have already been realized, and the rest of the savings will be realized in future years. Working with the Legislature, we will reach our goal of identifying a billion dollars in savings by the end of this term.”
The bills were sponsored by Rep. Jay Love, R-Montgomery, and Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville. The House initially passed the bill the first week of the legislative session, but the Senate amended the House bill to require an automatic annual repayment if in any year the legislature fails to appropriate a scheduled repayment amount. The House gave final approval to the bill on Tuesday.