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ALABAMA

Alabama

State Recovery Act Website: http://stimulus.alabama.gov/

Alabama's state Recovery Act website scored 23 out of 100 possible points (ranking 39th) on Good Jobs First's updated 51-state study of state stimulus websites entitled Show Us the Stimulus (Again). The state earned points for showing stimulus allocations by narrow categories, and recipient jobs data.

For detailed scoring information, see the Alabama appendix of Show Us the Stimulus (Again).

Coordination & Oversight

Gov. Bob Riley's Executive Order dated April 8 required all state agencies and higher education institutions to appoint an ARRA Compliance Officer who will report to Alabama Finance Director. The order states: "BE IT FURTHER ORDERED that the Finance Director is designated as the official charged with collecting the required information, verifying its accuracy, reporting it to this office, monitoring competitive grants and formula driven federal funds, and otherwise determining that the state is in compliance with all requirements imposed by the Recovery Act and its implementing rules and regulations. Representatives of the Finance Director will contact the Compliance Officers regarding the procedures for implementing and enforcing this Order."

According to the website FAQ page, state agencies will apply their usual review and approval process to making distribution decisions about stimulus funds, whenever rules and regulations for distribution are not dictated by the federal government.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Development (ADECA) will be accepting stimulus funds for programs related to Community and Economic Development, Energy, Law Enforcement, and Workforce Development.

Drayton Nabers, Jr. has been appointed by Governor Riley to oversee the state's stimulus spending. Nabers currently works with the Birmingham law firm of Maynard, Cooper & Gale. Nabers' law partner David Perry is also assisting with stimulus oversight and other staff are providing paralegal services. Nabers previously served as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court from 2004 to 2006 as well as Alabama's Finance Director, and he spent 20 years in the private sector with the Protective Life Corporation.

Policy Debates

Alabama lawmakers considered but failed to enact legislation, SB460, which would make the state eligible to accept $99 million in stimulus funds for additional unemployment benefits, against the wishes of Gov. Riley. The Birmingham News reported that in late March both the senate and house passed resolutions in support of accepting these funds. The Senate Democratic Caucus has identified this legislation as one of three top priorities for the 2010 Legislative Session.

Ron Gilbert from Alabama Arise supports UI legislation: "This would be an opportunity to move Alabama's policies on unemployment compensation more in line with other states...Today we have a changed work environment. It's not uncommon to see folks with multiple part-time jobs, and single parents who may not work full time because of child care needs...They need some safety net if they lose their jobs.''

In August, Gov. Riley called for a special session to address specific legislation, including a bill addressing unemployment benefits. Legislators approved a 20-week extension of emergency unemployment benefits for workers who have exhausted the current 59 week benefit allowance. The extension will be fully funded by stimulus money.

As unemployment in Alabama continues to rise (hitting double digits in June), the state's unemployment compensation trust fund is further depleted. Beginning in September, the state will be forced to borrow money from the federal government in order to keep the fund solvent. The amount of this initial loan is estimated to be at least $40 million.

Alabama has agreed to pay back dues to the Southern High-Speed Rail Commission, which will assist the commission in putting together a study on potential rail corridors through the state. This study will enable the commission to apply for stimulus money set aside for high-speed rail corridors across the country.

In May, Democratic U.S. Rep Artur Davis complained to Gov. Beebe in a public letter that stimulus funds were not being distributed on a sufficiently equitable and transparent basis.

 

 

Last updated on: 27 January, 2010

Quick Facts

Population:
4,661,900

Median Household Income:
$40,554

Unemployment Rate:
10.4%

Poverty Rate:
16.9%

Estimated Recovery Act Funding:
$3.1 billion

Watchdog Groups

Alabama Arise

Resources

Alabama Arise, Guiding Principles on Stimulus Spending, March 18, 2009; online here.

Alabama Arise, Unemployment Insurance Funding op-ed, March 17, 2009; online here.

Alabama Arise, The Federal Economic Recovery Package: What Will Alabama Receive, March 13, 2009; online here.

 

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