Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday issued the following statement in response to the passage of SB161, the FY 2020 General Fund supplemental appropriations bill that would appropriate federal CARES Act funds.
“Unlike other emergency relief bills that have been passed by Congress during recent disasters, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by President Trump on March 27th with the clear intent of reimbursing only those expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, this obligation is for a period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020, meaning if this money isn’t spent, not just allocated, by the end of this year, it goes back to the U.S. Treasury.
“Alabama’s total share of the CARES Act funds is a little over $1.9 billion. That’s a lot of money for sure, and if spent wisely, it could very well help us pay for many legitimate expenses incurred by cities, counties and the state, nursing homes and hospitals, schools and colleges — and other worthy expenditures – that are directly connected to COVID-19.
“This afternoon, I sent a letter to each member of the Legislature to inform them I intend to sign both the FY 2021 General Fund Budget and the FY 2021 Education Trust Fund Budget. Additionally, I will be proposing an Executive Amendment to SB161 to ensure that the CARES Act money is immediately put to use for the purposes Congress and President Trump intended.
“I have known many in the legislature for a long time and have built many lasting, true friendships. Like any working relationship, you will have occasional disagreements. Tension can be a good thing if you allow it to birth good ideas; we must not allow ego or personal agendas to outweigh the public good. My firm opinion remains that most members of the Legislature want to do the right thing while making certain this money helps the people of Alabama who have been harmed by this disease.
“There are over 10,700 people who have currently tested positive and 450 have died in the last two months from this disease. Also, over 450,000 people have filed for unemployment compensation, which is more than the last two years combined. While no one could have predicted COVID-19, it is easy to conclude this pandemic has touched every aspect of our daily lives.
“I look forward to working with the Legislature on Monday and in the days ahead.”