"The fact that this bill passed the House on just the third legislative day clearly demonstrates that Republicans are following through on our promise to repay the money that was borrowed from the Alabama Trust Fund during the September referendum election," Love, who chairs the public education budget-writing committee, said. "As a businessman, I understand that people judge you not just by your words, but also by your actions, so I am proud to sponsor a bill that keeps a public commitment made to the citizens of Alabama. To those of us in the Republican leadership, a promise made should be a promise kept."
In September, 2012, voters approved - 65% to 35% - a constitutional amendment transferring approximately $145 million a year for three years from the Alabama Trust Fund, which collects revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling leases, to the General Fund budget in order to fund non-education related state agencies such as Medicaid, Public Safety, Corrections and several others.
During the referendum, Gov. Robert Bentley and the House and Senate Republican Caucuses made public commitments that the funds would be repaid to the Trust as soon as savings produced from $750 million in government cost-cutting measures allowed.
The People's Trust Act, also known as House Bill 94, provides a payback structure that maintain solid benchmarks while ensuring the repayment is completed by the end of 2026. It serves as the centerpiece bill of the "We Dare Defend Our Rights to Taxpayer Accountability" section of the House Republican Caucus' 2013 "We Dare Defend Our Rights" Legislative Agenda.
In addition to specific annual repayment targets that must be met, the Legislative Fiscal Office is also required to monitor and publicly report whether the benchmarks are being fulfilled on schedule.
The bill now moves to the State Senate for consideration.