Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Disingenuous 'rescue'

Disingenuous 'rescue'

  • Updated
  • 0

Alabama lawmakers are back in Montgomery this week in a special legislative session convened by Gov. Kay Ivey to hammer out a strategy to pay for an ambitious $1.3 billion prison construction plan.

Some elements are already on the table. The plan would build three new prisons and renovate others, and would take place in phases. There’s a possibility of a $785 million bond issue, and $150 million from the General Fund.

Then there is $2.2 billion in American Rescue Plan funds burning a hole in lawmakers’ pockets, so there are some who would poach $400 million from the COVID relief funding to help pay for prisons.

There are “many, many fewer restrictions” on these federal dollars, said Rep. Greg Albritton, chairman of the Senate general fund budget committee.

Perhaps. The federal government isn’t making decisions about how states can use the money, but expects any funds spent in inappropriate ways to be repaid by the states.

That should give lawmakers pause. And just because they can – assuming they can – doesn’t mean they should.

Alabama hasn’t suffered greatly from the pandemic from a fiscal perspective. The state’s 2020 revenue grew by more than 3 percent over 2019 revenue, despite the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s more than most state residents can say about their own household revenue. In fact, many residents had drastic reversals of fortune, with job loss, lost income, and inability to pay bills. Some people lost their businesses. Many others had unexpected medical bills directly related to COVID-19. Tragically, some had unexpected funeral expenses.

The intent of American Rescue Plan funds is to address those devastating circumstances, and is likely the reasoning behind the dearth of restrictions on the funds.

It’s difficult to imagine that any rationale to use the money for prison construction is anything but disingenuous, and more than a little insulting to Alabamians who truly need a financial rescue.


Catch the latest in Opinion

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

There’s something many politicians would rather the public didn’t know, and the fewer who are aware of it, the better.

What is it about Alabama’s leaders that makes them ignore very real, critical challenges in our state while creating non-existent threats that…

  • Updated

The suicide attack on a mosque in Kunduz last week, killing at least 50 people, all of them from Afghanistan’s persecuted Shia minority, is a …

  • Updated

Here’s a challenge few if any people saw coming: Alabama schools are experiencing food shortages.

  • Updated

Remember Bubba Skinner, the Sparta, Mississippi, police captain from “In the Heat of the Night?” Or Gopher Smith, the purser on “The Love Boat…

  • Updated

Municipalities around the state should pay close attention to a cautionary tale unfolding in the city of Mobile, where a runoff election this …

  • Updated

Parents of young children may have another worry on the horizon: coronavirus-fueled disruptions in the global supply chain are throwing a Grin…

Recently, diners in a local restaurant noticed a handwritten note at the bottom of the menu: “$1 will be added to prices on the menu because o…

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

News Alert