On Thursday, Gov. Kay Ivey announced that she intends to sign both of the state’s fiscal year 2021 operating budgets – the $7.1 billion Education Trust Fund and the $2.4 billion General Fund – as passed by the Alabama Legislature.
At more than $1.9 billion, Alabama’s share of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds is nearly as large as the annual budget for most non-education state agencies. The executive and legislative branches have jockeyed for control of these dollars, which must be spent this calendar year or they revert to the federal government.
The Governor also announced an executive amendment to a separate supplemental appropriations bill for the current year budget to allocate CARES Act dollars as follows:
- $568 million to state government: $300 million to state agencies in general, $200 million for prison system specifically, $53 million for equipment and infrastructure needed for remote work and public access to the functions of state government, $10 million to the courts and $5 million to offset an earlier supplemental appropriation to the Department of Public Health;
- $300 million to the private sector to support citizens, businesses, nonprofits and faith- based organizations directly impacted by the pandemic;
- $300 million to education for technology and infrastructure related to remote instruction and learning;
- $250 million to local governments;
- $250 million for healthcare services;
- $118 million for any lawful purpose
The executive amendment also requires reporting of expenditures to the legislative leadership, creates a mechanism for legislative leaders to approve any adjustments that may be needed and, in case authorization is granted at some future date, sets up a process for using CARES Act funds to offset lost revenue to the state.
Governor Ivey will present her executive amendment to the Legislature when they convene on Monday, first to the Senate where the budget originated. The Senate can agree to the amendment (concur), disagree with the amendment and pass the bill as they originally sent it to her (non-concur and pass the bill), or vote to kill the bill (non-concur). The bill would then go to the House which will then have the option of agreeing with the Senate or allowing the bill to die. House and Senate action is taken by a simple majority vote of the elected members.