MONTGOMERY – On Wednesday, the Alabama House passed the state’s proposed $5.74 billion Education Trust Fund Budget with a 84-16 vote. Unlike the bloated federal budget President Obama released today, this proposal reflects fiscal responsibility and common sense budgeting practices.
The majority of education budget items received level funding when compared to 2013. The budget also provides a 2% pay raise for all full-time teachers and support personnel as well as a provision to give teachers the same liability insurance that is already provided to state employees.
House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) applauded Ways and Means Education Chairman Jay Love (R-Montgomery) for upholding Republicans’ promise to operate government within its means and still find room to reward Alabama’s most valuable assets – its teachers.
“We have made historic gains this session on our path to improve education in Alabama and this budget is yet another step towards innovation and progress,” said Hubbard. “At a time when we face great economic uncertainty, I’m proud that we were able to not only provide a raise to our teachers but also provide them with the same liability protections all other state employees receive.”
Chairman Love noted that the education budget increased by 3% this fiscal year despite having to pay down the $423M still owed to the Rainy Day Fund due to Democrats’ reckless spending.
“We are still recovering from the Democrats’ years upon years of unchecked spending but we are making progress thanks to our conservative budgeting practices,” stated Love. “Because we’ve made smart, common-sense financial decisions we are able to provide our teachers with the first pay increase they’ve received in years, putting money back into the pockets of our state’s educators. We have spent countless hours to ensure that the Education Trust Fund budget is as cost-effective as possible while ensuring that the most effective and needed programs are adequately funded.”
Other notable budget items:
· $80 million increase to the K-12 Foundation Program which funds all public schools across the state
· $35 million guaranteed payment to the Rainy Day Fund with the potential of paying up to $100 million next fiscal year.
· $12.5 million in additional funding to Alabama’s distinguished pre-K program.
· $3.9 million supplemental appropriation to help alleviate any funding issues for public service agencies such as the Alabama Department of Rehabilitative Services (ADRS), the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) and the Alabama Department of Homeland Security’s (ALDHS) Virtual Alabama program
Throughout the budget process Rep. Love has worked closely with his education counterpart Senator Trip Pittman. The budget now moves to the Senate for approval and is expected to be enacted long before the 30th legislative day.