Adequate funding of essential General Fund programs

LWVAL Action Priority Level I (Highest) - Monitoring and action of highest priority. Major area for resource expenditures.

Click a bill to see sponsor(s), synopsis, link to the bill, League action and justification for that action, and progress of the bill through the legislative process.

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LWVAL has taken a position on this bill:

thumbs_up_icon.jpgSB353 Constitutional Amendment - Medicaid, funding through General Fund, additional 5 mill statewide levy in ad valorem tax distributed for Medicaid purposes, const. amend.

Sponsor(s): Senator Figures

Synopsis: Currently, the state levies a 6.5 mill annual ad valorem tax on the assessed value of taxable property in the state. This bill would propose a constitutional amendment to levy an additional five (5) mill annual state ad valorem tax. The net proceeds of the additional levy would be distributed to the State General Fund for Medicaid purposes.

League Action and Justification: Support

LWVAL’s Finance and Taxation positions support the following: “Any new taxes which become necessary should be based on ability to pay, in order to lessen reliance on regressive taxes.” “The present mix of Alabama's taxes should be changed so that there is more reliance on property tax and income tax and less reliance (dependence) on general and selective sales taxes.” This bill increases the ad valorem tax assessed on the value of taxable property and therefore fits these two precepts.

While League does not support earmarking any new taxes, League actions have permitted support of less than perfection legislation if the legislation has the potential to improve quality of life. This bill would do that.

In the area of Health Care, LWVAL “supports access to basic health care services for all Alabama citizens . . . accomplished through . . . the development of delivery systems that take into account the specific needs of children, the elderly, rural and disadvantaged persons.” Medicaid supports the economically disadvantaged with most of its clients being elderly and children.

Bill Progress in the Legislature:

04/04/2017: Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Finance and Taxation General Fund

LWVAL is monitoring this bill:

green-right-arrow.jpgHB487 - Gasoline and diesel fuel, add'l tax, Ala. Road and Bridge Rehabilitation and Improvement Authority established to finance road and bridge rehabilitation and improvements, issuance of $2.4 billion in bonds, proceed of taxes pledged for debt, ATRIP-II Projects Special Fund established, Sec. 40-17-325 am'd.

Sponsor(s): Representative Poole

Synopsis: This bill would establish the Alabama Road and Bridge Rehabilitation and Improvement Authority for the purposes of establishing a local and state program for financing the rehabilitation and improvement of roads and bridges throughout the state by the issuance of the debt obligations which shall be payable solely from the proceeds from additional gasoline and diesel fuel excise taxes and registration fees on certain alternative fuel vehicles to be levied pursuant to this act. Monies raised are to be distributed by formulas that insure funds to counties and municipalities are based in part on population but part of the distribution is the same allotment for each of the 67 counties.

League Action and Justification: Monitor. While LWVAL supports public transportation, this bill uses earmarked funds (opposed by the league) only for roads and bridges.

Bill Progress in the Legislature:

04/06/2017: Read for the first time and referred to the House committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure (TU&I)

04/11/2017: 2nd Read and place on the Calendar with 2 TU&I Amendments (185007-2 and 185040-2); pending 3rd Read and Favorable from TU&I.

[NOTE: Amendments discuss reallocation and handling of bond monies -- $1,250,000,000 for payment of costs of 6 ATRIP-II Projects for county level road and bridges rehabilitation and expenses of issuance of the Bonds and $1,200,000,000 for payment of costs of ALDOT.

Legislative Fiscal Office Note states: “The bonds issued by the Authority will be payable solely from the proceeds from additional gasoline and diesel fuel excise taxes and registration fees on certain alternative fuel vehicles to be levied under the provisions of this bill. This bill would levy an additional excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel at the rate of $0.04 per gallon beginning September 1, 2017, which will increase by an additional $0.02 per gallon effective September 1, 2019, and then an additional $0.03 effective September 1, 2024. The initial excise tax increase in FY 2018 could yield gross receipts of $124 million, not including the cost of collection and any refunds owed. The additional $.03 tax effective September 1, 2024 shall be imposed unless the Legislature during the immediately preceding Regular Session adopts a resolution finding that previous increased excise taxes are expected to be sufficient to pay the debt service on bonds and obligations of the Authority. The bill also levies an additional annual registration fee of $100 on private passenger alternative fueled, and $150 on commercial alternative fueled vehicles, except those vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas.”]

05/17/2017: Indefinitely postponed.


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