MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The House budget committee has approved a compromise bill dividing state settlement money from the BP oil spill – using the money to pay off state debts and pay for road projects in coastal counties.
The proposal would also help close most of a gap in next year’s Medicaid budget.
The committee approved a bill Wednesday to monetize the settlement by selling bonds. Much of the money, nearly $450 million, would pay back money borrowed during past budget shortfalls. An estimated $191 million would go for road projects at the coast.
Budget chairman Steve Clouse says it is a fair compromise that keeps the focus on repaying debts.
Clouse said the plan would free up $55 million for Medicaid. Medicaid officials said they needed $85 million more to maintain services next year.