Gov. Kay Ivey highlighted Alabama’s record job growth and economic progress while calling for investment in infrastructure, education, public safety and corrections during her State of the State address March 5.
“I’m proud to report that the state of our state is growing stronger each day,” said Ivey, speaking from the Alabama Capitol Old House Chamber. “Alabama’s recent history, combined with the willing attitude I sense in the chamber this evening, will aid in our quest to overcome our long-neglected issues and will help us achieve even greater prosperity.”
Within an hour of her concluding remarks, the governor called the Alabama Legislature into special session to consider the Rebuild Alabama Infrastructure Plan.
“Almost three decades have gone by, and Alabama has not made one change to our infrastructure funding. While our neighboring states are increasing their revenue for their transportation budgets, Alabama has not. We are dead last,” Ivey said during the address. “That is why we are proposing a 10-cent increase in Alabama’s fuel tax.
“I want to be crystal clear. This money will be scrutinized and watched over – every single penny. There will be strong accountability measures to make certain these monies are spent solely on transportation infrastructure. Period,” Ivey added.
As part of her infrastructure initiative, Ivey proposed reducing by half the amount of money transferred out of the Alabama Department of Transportation budget to fund courts and other agencies.
Meanwhile, Ivey seeks to avoid federal intervention in the state prison system by providing $31 million to hire an additional 500 Department of Corrections officers.
“This is an Alabama problem that must have an Alabama solution,” she said.
Ivey called on the Legislature to fund 50 new state troopers and provide an additional $7 million for the Department of Mental Health. She also requested $25 million to expand Alabama’s nationally recognized First Class Pre-K program by 193 classrooms, as well as an additional $75 million for Alabama’s four-year colleges and universities.
In addition, Ivey proposed a 2 percent pay raise for state employees and a 4 percent increase for teachers.
“When we make improvements to our state’s infrastructure, to our prisons and to our education system, we are planting a seed of opportunity for Alabama’s next 200 years,” Ivey said. “We must be willing to take the next step, because we are Alabama, and this is our time.”
Click here to read the full text of Gov. Ivey's State of the State address.