Gov. Ivey signs record-setting budgets and announces teacher pay raise

Published 11:06 am Friday, June 2, 2023

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A busy week for Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey saw her sign the state’s budget on Thursday and announce a pay raise for teachers across the state on Friday.

The state budget that Ivey signed includes the proposed budget she made earlier this year for the General Fund, Education Trust Fund (ETF) and the supplemental budget for both the General Fund and ETF.

“I am proud to officially put my signature on yet another historic investment in our students, teachers and schools,” Ivey said in a statement. “Alabama is serious about changing the trajectory of student outcomes and our steady progress in the classroom and this record-setting education budget proves that to be the Gospel Truth.

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“We are expanding our award-winning Pre-K program into some of our highest poverty areas. We are supporting the implementation of the critical Literacy and Numeracy Acts. We are, once again, increasing teacher pay, giving us even more of a competitive edge to recruit and retain the educators of today and tomorrow. We are investing in our two-year and four-year colleges. And thanks to the work of the Alabama Legislature, we continue making these wise investments while paying down debts, adding to our savings and returning the working people of Alabama’s money back to them through tax rebates. I have said it before and I will say it again: our students’ education is the single-most important issue facing our state, and Alabamians can rest assure that it will continue to be my top priority.”

The budgets that Ivey signed into law are the state’s largest ever education and General Fund budgets. Those budgets were passed by the State Legislature last Thursday before being signed into law by Ivey this week.

The education budget will allocate $8.8 billion for the ETF, a total of $537 million more from the previous year. The education supplemental bill also allocates another $2.8 million. The supplement is a result of Alabama’s historic surplus that was available to the state because tax revenues greatly exceeded expenditures in 2022.

The General Fund budget will allocate $3 billion for non-education state programs, like Medicaid, prisons, courts, law enforcement, mental health and others. It’s a 6 percent budget increase from the previous year. Additionally, the supplemental budget allocates another $208 million for state and local programs and projects.

The budget includes a vastly decreased version of the statewide tax rebates that Ivey proposed earlier this year. The tax rebates will see Alabamians, that filed taxes in 2021, receive $150 each – or $300 for married couples – which will cost an estimated $393 million. Back in March, Ivey proposed tax rebates of $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples.

The general fund budget also includes a 2 percent raise for state employees, while the supplemental budget for education includes money to two and four-year colleges across the state. Troy University will receive a total of $33.5 million earmarked for facility needs and upgrades.

The pay raise for Alabama teachers makes a total increase of 15 percent during her tenure as governor.

“Our students’ education is my top priority, and teachers are vital to their successful future, which is why I am proud to, once again, deliver a pay raise to Alabama teachers,” Ivey said. “Every year since I have been governor, I have proposed a pay increase for our educators, and because of our work with the Legislature, Alabama has increased base salary for teachers by about $6,000 during that time. As I stated during my state of the state address, my goal is to have the starting salary for all Alabama teachers to be the highest in the Southeast by the end of my term.”