Trust Fund repayment bill goes to Gov. Robert Bentley

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The Alabama House of Representatives’ chamber in the State House.

The House of Representatives concurred in a Senate amendment Tuesday afternoon that would require repayment of $437 million transferred from the Alabama Trust Fund last year to shore up the state’s General Fund.

The legislation was approved 90 to 0, and now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley.  Bentley’s office said in a statement Tuesday he plans to sign the bill on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are fulfilling our promise to the people of this state to repay the Alabama Trust Fund from the transfer that was approved by a large majority of voters,” Governor Bentley said in a statement.  “I appreciate the fast action of our Legislature, and I look forward to signing this bill.”

Voters authorized the transfer of the funds over three years in an election last September. The bill was the top priority on House Republicans’ “We Dare Defend Our Rights” agenda, unveiled last month.

The legislation would require full repayment of the money borrowed by 2026, and sets up a repayment schedule for each year.  The General Fund would have to pay back at least $5 million by the end of the 2014 fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2014 and at least $15 million by 2015.  The amount due each year would increase in multiples of five.

The bill was amended in the Senate to require automatic payments from the General Fund if the Legislature fails to appropriate the funds required.

– posted by Brian Lyman.  (updated at 3:04 p.m.)

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