By Paul DeMarco
We are now a week away from the first day of the 2023 regular session of the Alabama Legislature.
As lawmakers head back to Montgomery, there is discussion of what bills will be up first for debate. However, it appears that before Alabama State Representatives and Senators get to work on their own legislation the Governor is preparing to call for a special session right off the bat.
The Governor wants approval for the distribution of the remaining federal covid monies that is close to a billion dollars. There has been a lot of debate on how to spend the money. The state has already appropriated $1.1 billion dollars of American Rescue Plan Act funds. Of those funds, $400 million went to construction for new prisons in the state, while almost $300 million went to expand rural broadband service in the state.
There are more dollars expected to be spent towards broadband, but there is a lot of money that has to be approved to be spent for state needs. The United States Congress has loosened the restrictions on the way those funds can be used by the state.
Other suggestions for the state leaders include tax relief for Alabama citizens considering the inflation and tough economic times. Other states have passed reforms and returned dollars or removed taxes in the past year. Some states are in the process of even eliminating their income tax.
Most importantly lawmakers need to make use of these dollars which will be n the best interest of Alabama citizens.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives and can be found on Twitter at @Paul_DeMarco