Alabama Governor Robert Bentley MD to voters: Trust me. I’ll pay it all back.
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Would you trust this man?
He’s a damn politician… and a GOP one, at that.
The problem is, that he’s NOT yet shown any plan on how or when he’ll do that.
Whatever you do, please… DO NOT raise property tax rates on Corporate Timber owners.
Not at all.
They should pay much less than residential property owners.
And for goodness sake, PLEASE do NOT raise the state income tax rate on the wealthiest, who are documented to already pay a lower rate than the working poor in the state.
Don’t do that.
Gov. Robert Bentley: $437M from trust fund would be paid back
Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2012, 7:00 PM Updated: Tuesday, August 21, 2012, 7:17 PM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Robert Bentley and legislative leaders said Tuesday they are committed to paying back the money if Alabama voters agree to take more than $437 million from a state trust fund and use it to prevent huge cuts in spending on state programs for three years.
Bentley said the commitment should help garner more votes for the proposed constitutional amendment, which is the only thing on the statewide ballot Sept. 18.
“I think that it does make a difference when I say it, when the leadership says it, and if some legislation is passed to require it,” Bentley told reporters.
The Republican governor said the payback would start before the end of his current four-year term in January 2015 but it would have to stretch several years beyond that.
The Legislature came up with the idea in May when trying to balance the state General Fund budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. The constitutional amendment, if approved by voters, would take $145.8 million a year for three years out of the Alabama Trust Fund to help balance the budget during a time when tax collections are expected to see little growth.
The proposed constitutional amendment doesn’t mandate a payback. But Republicans are now talking about passing a bill in the next legislative session to do that between 2015 and 2025. They are counting on the economy will improve and provide extra state revenue for the payments.
Democratic critics said there’s no guarantee money will be available, and the promise of repayment is a gimmick to get votes. “I hope the voters see through this,” House Minority Leader Craig Ford of Gadsden said Tuesday.
The Alabama Trust Fund was set up through constitutional amendments in the 1980s to receive royalties from natural gas wells drilled in state-owned waters along the Alabama coast. Gov. Fob James and then Gov. George C. Wallace advocated the trust fund so that state officials wouldn’t spend the money as it comes in each year. The trust fund now contains $2.3 billion.
Ford voted for the proposed constitutional amendment in the House in May because he said he always supports letting the people vote on issues. But he said it’s a temporary fix to get the Republican majority past the next legislative elections in 2014.
“Instead of doing the job they were elected to do, the Republicans in the Alabama legislature passed the buck to the voters with this constitutional amendment,” he said.
Bentley said the Legislature rushed through the proposed constitutional amendment at the end of the legislative session, and it would have been better to include a repayment provision from the start.
The sponsor of the proposed constitutional amendment, Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur, said it started out addressing other issues with the Alabama Trust Fund and got rewritten by the House to provide the $145.8 million for three years. He said there was no opportunity to rewrite it in the Senate on the Legislature’s final meeting day, but he supports repayment.
“We are committed to a repayment plan,” said Orr, who chairs the Senate’s General Fund budget committee.
House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, always anticipated that the money would be repaid and supports putting that into law, spokesman Todd Stacy said.
During a speech Tuesday to the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, Bentley said that if the referendum fails, appropriations for state agencies may have to be cut 17 percent when the new $1.68 billion General Fund budget takes effect Oct. 1.
Orr said the Legislature set the referendum on Sept. 18 to give Bentley the option of calling a special legislative session to try other approaches rather than a big across-the-board budget cut.