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Last updated 4:54AM ET
March 8, 2021
State Will Spend $2B on Insurance, Benefits
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - The state government's cost of providing health insurance and retirement benefits to active and retired school workers and state employees will top two (b) billion dollars next year, according to state budget forecasts.

The cost of providing the benefits to more than 200 thousand active and retired public employees has more than tripled from 1996 to next year's budgeted total.

State government is budgeted to pay 2-point-13 (b) billion dollars for health insurance and retirement benefits in the new fiscal year starting October 1st. By contrast the state paid 698 (m) million in fiscal 1996. That's a growth of 209 percent in 12 years.

In fiscal 1996, payments for pensions and health insurance for active and retired public education employees took up 11-point-9 percent of the state's education revenue. Next year, it will be 19-point-5 percent.

If the current trend continues, that spending could consume 32 percent by 2020.

A spokesman for the Alabama Education Association said the rise in benefit costs is largely due to increases for health insurance and it's being experienced nationwide.

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