Both the House and Senate unanimously passed legislation on Tuesday that would transfer funds from the State's General Fund to repay remaining debt to the Alabama Trust Fund.
State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) said on the Senate floor on Tuesday that Alabama was "blessed as a state" to have the Alabama Trust Fund and "we should always protect that."
"Sometimes you need that helping hand for whatever reason," Chambliss said. "In this particular case, we had that situation through the Great Recession. Many, many, many, many people said we would never do this, and honestly, there are ways we could've gotten around it and not done it, but here we are."
The Alabama Trust Fund uses offshore oil and gas drilling royalties to distribute funding to state government, cities, counties, senior citizens and conservation projects.
Alabama voters approved a constitutional amendment when state government finances were in bad shape in 2012, allowing for a $437 million transfer from the Alabama Trust Fund to the General Fund over three years. The amendment didn't have a payback requirement, but legislation was later passed requiring the state to pay the borrowed amount back.
Gov. Kay Ivey called the special session last Wednesday for the legislature to allocate American Rescue Plan Act funds and transfer nearly $60 million from the state's General Fund to pay off the remainder of a debt to the Alabama Trust Fund.
The 2023 regular session is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.
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