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Lawmakers have been mixed in their public comments about what to do with a $2 billion budget surplus.

Some have suggested a tax rebate, backed by Gov. Kay Ivey earlier this year. Others have suggested putting the surplus funds in a reserve account.

Only a handful of lawmakers have publicly backed a permanent tax cut.

However, State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) says both tax rebates and cuts could be on the horizon.

Orr, the chairman of the Senate Education Trust Fund budget committee, told Huntsville radio WVNN's Dale Jackson that he was aiming to get permanent cuts through the legislature next year.

"I'm over on the other side," Orr said. "I think we can get something done. I'm certainly committed to it and am going to press like heck to get it done because ... the revenue windfalls that we have that are not federal dollars – they were created by federal dollars, people having more money in their pocket, the checks in the mail from the feds, etc. We take that one-time windfall, and we give a good portion back to the people, a one-time giveback. And then we also do some permanent long-term tax cuts. I, for one, am focused on those with fixed incomes as such as our senior citizens and their 401(k)s and IRAs – allowing them to take more money out.

"We did some in the '22 session. We need to raise that number and allow them to be exempt from taxation on their withdrawals from their defined contribution plans. Then we need to go to the other end of the income spectrum. We have some 2% rates for the first several thousand dollars that you make. That needs to go away. We need to hit at the bottom end of the scale and remove some of that minimum threshold, which is the first dollar, more or less, in Alabama. Again, I'm not including the deductions, but it gets complex, but I think we need to hit there as well and do some permanent tax cuts. I think that happens at the end of the day."

The Morgan County Republican lawmaker said whatever he and his colleagues decide will depend on the economy when the Alabama Legislature meets next year.

"I think so much depends on where we are with the economy in March," Orr added. "That's a long way away from when we gavel in to know where we are fiscally and where the economy is fiscally on as far as the level we're able to achieve on these cuts and rebates."

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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