Budgets Await Concurrence, Governor Signature
The Education Trust Fund (ETF) and General Fund (GF) budgets both passed the second chamber of the Alabama Legislature this week. They will require concurrence in the house of origin before being sent to Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature.
The House of Representatives approved the ETF Wednesday by a 100-0 vote. The $6.4 billion budget would provide $5 million for Career and Technical Education Operations and Maintenance and $4 million for the Career Tech Initiative.
Other ETF appropriations include: $5.2 million for the Alabama Agricultural Land Grant Alliance; $1.5 million for the Soil and Water Conservation Committee program; $31.1 million for the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and $32.5 million for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Those amounts are identical to Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations.
The budget includes $200,000 more for the Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), bringing the total to $1.78 million. The ETF budget would provide level funding for rural health programs at Auburn University, the University of Alabama, the University Alabama in Huntsville and Tuskegee University. The budget represents a $90 million spending increase when compared to the current fiscal year.
Meanwhile, the Senate approved the GF budget Thursday by a 24-4 vote. It includes $575,000 for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to fully fund the Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFO) program.
The GF budget also would provide the requested $81,403 in state matching funds for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), formerly called the Agriculture Water Enhancement Program (AWEP). Alabama Farmers Federation is the lead partner with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on RCPP projects to expand irrigation of cropland.
Most state agencies would be level funded under the plan.
The Senate-passed GF budget would place the Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) program under the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (AGI) and increase funding by $150,000. The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) would receive an additional $800,000, including about $99,000 for rural and community fire protection.