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People’s Trust Act passed to repay state’s general fund

As promised when the legislation was first approved, Gov. Robert Bentley on Wednesday signed the People’s Trust Act, a bill that requires the full repayment of money transferred from the Alabama Trust Fund to the state’s General Fund budget.

On September 18, Alabama voters approved the transfer of $437 million from the Alabama Trust Fund – a state savings account – to the General Fund over the next three years.

Officials alleged at the time the transfer was necessary to maintain essential state services during a difficult economic time without raising taxes.

Bentley and legislative leaders pledged to voters that the money transferred from the Alabama Trust Fund would be repaid and are keeping that promise by making the People’s Trust Act (House Bill 94) the first bill approved by both houses of the Legislature and signed by the Governor this year.

“We made a commitment to the voters that the Alabama Trust Fund would be repaid, and we are fulfilling that commitment,” Bentley said.

“We are also working to find more savings and make government more efficient. Over the last two years, we have identified $750 million in savings. From that total, more than $528 million in savings have already been realized, and the rest of the savings will be realized in future years.

“Working with the legislature, we will reach our goal of identifying a billion dollars in savings by the end of this term.”

The People’s Trust Act requires full repayment of the Alabama Trust Fund by no later than September 30, 2026.

The bill also provides for minimum cumulative amounts that must be repaid at the end of each fiscal year starting with the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014.

Bentley was joined at Wednesday’s signing by leaders from the Alabama Legislature, including sponsors of the repayment legislation.

“The Alabama Legislature and Gov. Bentley are delivering on the trust that was conveyed by voters on September 18,” Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey said.

“It’s not coincidental that the first bill to pass the legislature is to repay the money that will be transferred from the Trust Fund. I applaud Sen. Bryan Taylor and Rep. Jay Love for introducing these bills and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and House Speaker Mike Hubbard for giving these bills high priority during the first weeks of the 2013 legislative session.”

“Before we asked voters to authorize borrowing money from the trust fund, we promised that anything borrowed would be repaid in full,” Marsh said.

“This important legislation guarantees repayment and honors our commitment to voters. I appreciate the hard work of all senators who supported this legislation, particularly Senators Taylor, Allen, Bussman, Holtzclaw and Sanford.”