The end of fiscal year 2022 showed Alabama state government with a $2 billion revenue surplus, something unheard of in Alabama's past.
What to do with draws mixed reactions from state policymakers. Some have called for permanent tax cuts. Governor Kay Ivey suggested a one-time rebate. State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) has proposed a combination of both.
State Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) urges his colleagues in the Alabama Legislature to approach the surplus as if it were one in their household,
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5, Gudger said he would support paying down debt and putting money aside for savings.
"I have heard all of the above," he replied. "We've talked about all of the above in the past quadrennium. They make sense. Anytime – just think about your personal household income. Anytime you can pay off debt, first obviously do that, right? That kind of gets us out of the hole, which we've done an amazing job this past year being able to pay off millions of debt we've had for Alabamians."
"And number two, what is the next best way to do that?" Gudger continued. "It's to create a savings account. And by doing a savings account, when times come that are hard, and they are coming, then we are prepared for that. And instead of spending it on programs that we have to continue to put more operating income out to keep it up. I'm in favor of what Greg Albritton's plan is – to have kind of a safety account and savings account for the state of Alabama and continuing to pay off our debt. I think that's the right thing to do as you have a surplus, just like you'd do in your home."
Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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