Senate passes legislation to guarantee automatic - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Senate passes legislation to guarantee automatic repayment of Alabama Trust Fund

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- A bill passed Thursday by the Alabama Senate will mandate the automatic structured repayment of $437 million recently borrowed from the Alabama Trust Fund.

An amendment added in the Senate to House Bill 94 by Senator Bryan Taylor (R-Prattville) provides for an automatic annual appropriation to the Alabama Trust Fund ensuring that each transfer from the ATF is repaid within 10 years or less. With the Taylor amendment, the bill does not require any further action by this Legislature or future Legislatures to ensure repayment.

"Perhaps the most important part of this legislation is that it doesn't give future lawmakers the option on repayment, it sets up an automatic appropriation and guarantees it," Taylor said. "Because the annual repayment appropriation is on automatic draft, each year the Legislature will have to factor that amount into the budget. This bill will act to control spending in the General Fund because the Legislature will know it won't have these funds to spend away. The money goes back to the people's trust fund – where it belongs."

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said lawmakers pledged to repay borrowed funds when voters approved the constitutional amendment last September and that this legislation solidifies that promise.

"Before we asked voters to authorize borrowing money from the trust fund, we promised that anything borrowed would be repaid in full," Marsh said. "Passage of this legislation is an important step in making good on that commitment. I appreciate the hard work of Senators Taylor, Allen, Bussman, Holtzclaw and Sanford on this important legislation that guarantees repayment."

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