Alabama State Constitution Amendment Voter Recommendations
19 Local Amendments
|Alabama Constitutional Election|
NO - Amendment 1 - FOREVER WILD - Increase payments made to the Forever Wild Land Trust for a 20-year period. Reckless environmental spending. 2.2 million acres should be enough land.
?? - Amendment 2 - Bond issues - Allows the state to sell more bonds to get money to offer industries to build or expand plants in Alabama. Allows refinancing of current bonds at lower rates of interest.
PRO - This would allow Alabama to have funds to pay for job incentives for new industry. Many new jobs have been created as a result. Would allow the refinancing of existing bonds at lower rates of interest therefore saving money on interest. Governor Bentley promotes as a job creating measure. http://www.decaturdaily.com/stories/Bentley-Amendment-2-crucial-for-jobs,104731
CON - A strict constitutionalists does not believe in government interference in the market place. Why not lower the corporate tax rate for all companies? A previous governor was accused of using government grants and incentives to help companies, who in turn gave generous political campaign donations. The conservative community is split on this recommendation.
YES - Amendment 3 - Admin. of gov't. - Would define the Stockton Landmark District within Baldwin County. Saves the historic community of Stockton and prevents being absorbed by a bigger city.
? - Amendment 4 - Civil rights - To remove references to segregation of schools in the state constitution.
This is a feel good politically correct amendment. With No effect on current laws has Federal Courts have over ruled already.
YES- Amendment 5 - Natural resources - Transfer liabilities to Mobile Area Water and Sewer System.
YES -Amendment 6 - Obama Health care - Would prohibit mandatory participation in any health care system.
This was aimed at allowing people in Alabama to Opt Out of Obama Health Care. A Yes vote is an anti Obama vote.
YES - Amendment 7 - Labor - Would allow for the use of secret ballots in union votes.
YES - Amendment 8 - Legislatures Provide that the compensation paid to legislators do not increased during term of office.
Promotes Citizen legislator concept. Allows decent rate of pay for Legislature, and forbids legislator from giving themselves large pay raises.
NO - Amendment 9 - Taxes - Allows legislature to implement business privilege tax on corporations.
This amendment compiles several clauses in the Constitution, and removes several key sections, which removes church from taxation.
NO - Amendment 10 - Admin. of Gov't. Relating to authority of state legislature and banking in the state.
Concerns. This amendment is being strongly pushed by the banking industry, and What is in this for the Banks? Does away with the ability of the state of Alabama to establish a state bank and removes Gold and Silver standard. Being pushed by liberal groups. A STRONG NO vote by conservatives.
YES - Amendment 11: Prohibits any town located entirely outside Lawrence County from imposing any municipal ordinance on its police jurisdiction that extends into Lawrence County, such as Decatur.
Keeps Decatur from overpowering Lawrence County.
See detailed information and explanations on all 11 State Wide Amendments at:
Alabama Constitution Amendments November, 2012
Alabama State Constitution Amendments on November 6, 2012 -
Local Constitutional Amendments 2012 to appear on 19 Local County Ballots Only
Baldwin County Local Amendment 1 - YES Recommended
Relating to Baldwin County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901 to prohibit the imposition of an occupational tax.
Baldwin County Local Amendment 2 - NO Recommended
Relating to Baldwin County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to levy an additional one percent sales and use tax on certain items and one half of one percent on certain other items, to be distributed to any local boards of education in the county in accordance with state law for public school purposes; providing for the tax, an expiration date for the tax five years from June 1, 2013, and prescribing the method for the renewal of the tax; prescribing penalties and fixing punishment for violation of the amendment; providing for the collection of the sales and use tax; providing for exemptions from the sales and use tax; and providing for the payment of special election expenses by the Baldwin County Board of Education.
Bullock County - NO Recommended
Relating to Bullock County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to phase out the supernumerary system for certain public officials, including the sheriff, and allow elected or appointed county officials and the sheriff, ad defined, to participate in the Employees’ Retirement System, with the effective date retroactive to march 1, 2003, and to repeal Amendment No. 676 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 4, Local Amendments, Bullock County, Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended. Provides for hefty retirements
Relating to Calhoun County, prop9osing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the county commission to manage the processing of absentee ballots, effective upon the expiration of the current term of office of the circuit clerk.
Relating to Covington County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to further provide for the law library fee in the county and to ratify, approve, validate and confirm any court costs levied pursuant to local law enacted prior to the adoption of this amendment.
Cullman County - NO Recommended
Relating to Cullman County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to grant sixteenth section and school lands located in Cullman County, and held in trust by the state for education purposes in Cullman County, to the Cullman County Board of Education; to authorize the Cullman County Board of Education to manage, sell, lease and control those lands; and to provide for the distribution of any proceeds and interest from the sale, lease or other disposition of the land or the sale of timber, minerals, or other natural resources generated by the land.
Etowah County Local Amendment 1 - NO Recommended
Relating to Etowah County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that certain elected or appointed public officials in Etowah County may participate in the Employees’ Retirement System in lieu of participating in a supernumerary program or system.
Etowah County Local Amendment 2
Relating to Etowah county, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the legislature, by local or general act, to fix, regulate, and alter the costs and charges of court and to ratify and confirm any local law authorizing any additional court costs enacted prior to the adoption of this amendment..
Proposing a local constitutional amendment relating to Jackson County, to repeal Amendment No. 846 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 1.50, Jackson County Local Constitutional Amendment of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901 as amended, relating to special elections to fill vacancies occurring in county offices.
Relating to Lawrence County, proposing n amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to prohibit any municipality located entirely outside of Lawrence County from imposing any municipal ordinance or regulation, including but not limited to, any tax, zoning, planning, or sanitation regulations, and any inspection service in its police jurisdiction located in Lawrence County and to provide that a municipality prohibited from imposing any tax or regulation under this amendment shall not provide any regulatory function or police or fire protection services in its police jurisdiction located in Lawrence County, other than public safety mutual aid.
This has become Statewide Amendment 11.
Madison County - NO Recommended
Relating to Madison County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, for those areas of Madison County outside the corporate limits of any municipality, to establish procedure by which a dog can be declared dangerous and humanely destroyed or returned to the owner if certain requirements are met and the dog is securely enclosed, to provide immunity for county officers and employees and to provide for penalties.
Marengo County - NO Recommended
Relating to Marengo County, purposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that the judge of probate shall be compensated based on the population of the county as provided by general law instead of at 90 percent of the rate paid a district judge in the county.
To propose and amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the Legislature, by local or general act, to fix, regulate, and alter the costs and charges of court in Marion County
Marshall County - YES Recommended
Relating to Marshall County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that the Legislature, by local law, may further provide for the election of the members of the Marshall County board of Education and the operation of the board.
Montgomery County -YES Recommended
Relating to Montgomery Count8, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to decrease the terms of office for members elected after ratification of this amendment from six to four years.
Morgan County - YES Recommended
Relating to Lawrence County, proposing an amendment to the constitution of Alabama of 19001, to prohibit any municipality located entirely outside of Lawrence County from imposing any municipal ordinance or regulation, including, but not limited to, any tax, zoning, planning, or sanitation regulations and any inspection service in its police jurisdiction located in Lawrence County and to provide that a municipality prohibited from imposing any tax or regulation under this amendment shall not provide any regulatory function or police or fire protection services in its police jurisdiction located in Lawrence County, other than public safety mutual aid.
Relating to Perry County; proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901; to authorize the Legislature to fix, regulate, and alter the fees, commissions, allowances, and salaries, including the method and basis of compensation, to be charged or received by the sheriff of the county
Tuscaloosa County - -YES Recommended
Relating to Tuscaloosa County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to prohibit the imposition of an occupational tax.
Relating to Winston County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama, of 1901, to provide for the judge of probate to be compensated on a salary basis and to provide for the one-stop issuance of motor vehicle license plates by the judge of probate.
See detailed information on all 11 State Wide Amendments at:
Alabama Constitution Amendments November, 2012 Liberal Yes vs. Conservative No
NO to Forever Wild irresponsible liberal spending say Conservative Groups. Most of Alabama Tea Party groups and major Ala Conservative Groups, like Ala Eagle Forum, Conservative Christians of Alabama and over 30 major and minor conservative groups have united to say No on to For Ever Wild irresponsible fiscal spending See over 30 list of major conservative and tea party groups, as well as about 10 conservative members of Alabama Legislature who say NO. http://alabamadefenders.us/
The Alabama Forever Wild Program - Amendment to Alabama Constitution 2012(1) What part of "ALABAMA IS BROKE" do these Legislators not understand? Especially in these times of economic crisis, when we do not have money to waste, we need and want smaller, more efficient and less intrusive government. Have these politicians already forgotten their campaign promises and why we elected them?
(2) Forever Wild is already funded through October 2012. (So, what is the rush?) Why are the supporters of Forever Wild pushing so hard to fund it early? Who is profiting from this program and what are we NOT being told?
(3) If the Legislature does nothing, Forever Wild will still get nearly four million dollars a year, (two and a half percent of all future incoming trust fund money) for so-called stewardship (maintenance) expenses. Therefore, none of their presently owned property is in jeopardy. Or if they choose to use that money at a later date to purchase additional land instead of for maintenance - that much money will buy 1875 acres of new land, (at an average cost of two thousand dollars per acre), every single year thereafter. Or, as in the case of the "Walls of Jericho," where the average cost was 750 dollars per acre, this would amount to 5,333 acres of new land every year. That is a tract eight miles wide by one mile deep.
(4) Just how much of the state do these folks want to take? When is enough - enough?
(5) We must also consider the impact of Forever Wild purchases on our local and our state government's tax bases and its negative effects on the taxpayers. Remember none of these Forever Wild properties pay taxes. Therefore, every acre placed under their control is removed from the tax rolls. This means that the remaining property owners must pay higher taxes to make up the short fall or local services and needed government functions such as police and fire protection must be curtailed.
(6) "At a time when, according to Gov. Bentley, the state is cutting funding for (1) state parks, which are already open and easily accessible to all our citizens and which by the way, bring in much needed tourist dollars, (2) forest protection which would keep these state parks, private property and Forever Wild lands from burning down, and (3) other public property which all taxpayers can presently enjoy, why is Forever Wild so important that you would defund these programs which benefit everyone and fund Forever Wild for the use of a few?
(7) In 1992 when Alabama voters approved this program, they did so with the understanding that Forever Wild was a twenty year program that would be thoroughly re-evaluated at the end of the twenty years; otherwise, the money would revert to the Alabama Trust Fund.
This is the exact wording of the Forever Wild Amendment as stated on the 1992 ballot: "providing that, after the state's 2011-12 fiscal year revenues directed to said land trust shall be paid to the Alabama Trust Fund, with the exception of 2.5% of such revenues needed to continue funding of the stewardship account or as provided by the Legislature," (Money to purchase additional land was to terminate in 2012 unless the re-evaluation was done.) Why has this re-evaluation not been done? And why is this re-authorization being pushed through over a year early?
(8) By the way, you don't need to worry about hunters being endangered either. There are thousands (I have seen estimates of between five and six thousand) private hunting clubs who lease hunting rights on private property in Alabama, plus untold thousands of farmers and ranchers who actually hunt on their own land. These folks don't depend on the taxpayers to furnish them with a place to hunt. Imagine that! Does Alabama really need to start a welfare program for hunters? What is next, are we going to buy them guns, ammo and four-wheelers at taxpayer's expense too?
(9) Since Forever Wild stated in its answer to Senator Sanford concerning "mineral rights" that, Quote:" No mineral rights were acquired in many of the Forever Wild acquisitions." Then who owns the mineral rights under Forever Wild properties? Did the previous owners have a "sweet-heart deal" where they kept the mineral rights or timber rights or has Forever Wild just sold them? (What is to prevent the rightful owners of the mineral rights from strip mining Forever Wild property for coal, drilling for oil or natural gas, removing subsoil deposits containing chirt, or blasting and crushing granite formations for road building or construction materials? How can Forever Wild possibly claim to be preserving land for future generations when they do not hold the mineral rights? Anyone should understand that, so why have the mineral rights not been purchased by Forever Wild on these tracts?
(10) It appears that properties and easements owned or controlled by the Forever Wild trust are being used as collateral for bond sales and are also being listed as assets by the state of Alabama to improve their bond rating. Why would they mortgage property supposedly preserved for future generations? Why does the Forever Wild trust have a DUN and BRAD STREET ACCOUNT?
(11) In regard to another answer provided to Senator Sanford, it was stated that Forever Wild had provided 224 miles of new trails to Alabama. But they also stated that only 30 miles of trail were associated with hiking/backpacking. If this other 194 miles of trail is not even suitable for humans to walk on, then what are they used for? For people who claim that their land is open to the public this seems like a very small amount of hiking trails. Why are we being misled about public assess?
(12) Recently an individual, who is known to be a hard core environmentalist, passionately discussed with one of our State Senators his desire that Forever Wild re-introduce Buffalo and elk to Alabama. Alabama livestock producers should be VERY concerned about this. Buffalo and elk carry Brucellosis. In states like Montana diseases carried by bison have destroyed their disease free status and greatly harmed local agriculture, so why would the trustees of Forever Wild want to do something so destructive to Alabama's livestock industry?
Information on Alabama Amendments - Previous Voter ElectionsElection of September 18, 2012 -
Or Do We need to be serious about reforming the Ala Budget, living within our means, and adjusting Ala Budget to live within our means? To kick the can down the road and raid the Ala Trust Fund is irresponsible.
If we cut Government Spending, this results in reductions of Government Bureaucracy and Regulation of our Lives.
The Alabama Eagle Forum has put together an excellent paper on pros and cons of this Constitutional Amendment Election of Sept 18, 2012. See their info paper, as well as other additional info pro and con at: http://ccofal.org/alabama/alabama-constitution.phtml
If the Ala Medicaid Amendment is defeated, what are the options?
- 1. A proration of the budget.
- 2. Cut the budget. Combine the Education and General Fund Budget, and cut some of bloated waste in government and cut the AEA scared cows of education.
- 3. Cut the Medicaid medical welfare program, cut Socialism.
- 3. Go after Medicaid Fraud. It appears that identifying fraud in excess billing and going after the corruption in the system, may be enough alone to fill the
See though explanation ways to cut fraud and waste in Alabama Spending at: http://theattackmachine.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/vote-no-on-september-18-statewide-constitutional-amendment/
47 against to 1 for, was the vote of the Morgan County Republican Mens Breakfast in Decatur on Saturday Sept 8.
132 against to 22 for, was the vote of the Huntsville/Madison County Republican Mens Breakfast on Saturday Sept 15. Conclusion: Conservatives Say NO to the Ala Medicaid Amendment and No to raiding the Alabama Trust Fund.
Existing taxes and revenues will not fully fund the budget passed by the Alabama Legislature. So to support the bloated budget, do we raid the Alabama Trust Fund to continue the high level of funding for AEA government education programs, and the Ala Medicaid, a medical services program for those on Welfare?
State Republican Official - Vote NO - Save Alabama Trust Fund
It is with great regret that I stand in opposition to a Governor I worked to elect, and members of the Legislature who are trying to bring positive change to state government. However, the inability of our leaders to pass a balanced budget, except by a constitutional amendment that would take $437 million out of our state’s Trust Fund, is hardly a good reason for the people of Alabama to take nearly 20% of the Trust Fund to avoid an 8% cut in the General Fund. We are told if we don’t pass this amendment that the sky will really fall, hospitals will close, prisoners will be released, and nursing homes will close and kick grandma to the street. It sounds a little bit like Democrats saying Paul Ryan wanted to push his own mother over a cliff with his modest reforms to federal budgets. All this over a possible $143 million cut to a $1.67 Billion budget. Nobody thinks making additional cuts will be easy, but there are short and long term options to fix the mess. We elected new leadership to find solutions to the budgeting fiasco,not kick the can down the road by taking more money from the Trust Fund. We want Republicans in Montgomery to address the problems head-on, not dip in to the Trust Funds like Democrats did twice before them. Among reasons not to approve this Amendment includes the fact that there is no provision to repay this money and that we haven’t yet repaid the nearly half-billion already borrowed out of the Trust Fund in prior years. Secondly, the Trust Fund earnings have been used and were intended to supplement operating budgets at the state and local level. The more money we have taken out of the fund, the smaller the earnings potential has been. This amendment will fundamentally alter the future earnings that will be generated for operations by diverting a larger share of existing royalties away from the Trust Fund principal. We also just took nearly $300 million out of the Trust Fund by using an accounting gimmick, so if this proposed amendment passes we will have taken over$700 million out of the corpus over a two year period with no provision to repay it. As a CPA, I find this amount staggering,especially from an Administration and leadership that promised real financial accountability. Over the short-term, we can use unspent or future tobacco/oil spill settlements, sell unused state assets,eliminate unnecessary programs, and sell the ABC Board. Why is the State in the “liquor business” anyway, which is something the Governor said we didn’t need to be involved with. For that matter, we could sell Alabama Public TV, as if that is really needed in today’s world of nearly unlimited cable, satellite, Netflix, etc. Over the long-term, we can reform Medicaid and save nearly $50million per year, consolidate and eliminate overlapping taxes and regulations, and save up to $90 million per year offering early retirements. The fact is the Governor can propose changes in the next session of the legislature after voters reject this amendment, to make needed reforms and structural changes that will get us out of this mess without raising taxes.
All over the country, from Wisconsin and New Jersey, to Indiana, we have seen Republicans lead and make real changes to improve the financial health of their states without raising taxes. We shouldn’t pass a budget contingent upon taking 20% out of our Alabama Trust Fund. By voting NO on September 18, the sky will not fall, the Governor and the Legislature can get together and make short-term changes to get us through next year (like the Governor originally wanted to do). Then, we can start getting the State out of things it has no business being involved with, offering buy outs to long-time employees, consolidating programs and acting more like taxpayers and small businesses that have had to make changes in how they operate over the past few years. No more “sugarhighs” from Obama Stimulus, no more “accounting gimmicks”, and no more “kicking the can down the road” by taking more money out of our Trust Fund. Believe me, I have looked at the state budgets, have experienced its inefficiency, and seen some of its waste first-hand. We can Save the Trust and Balance the Budget. It starts with a NO vote on September 18! Join the Alabama Forestry Association, Tea Party members, Eagle Forum and fiscal conservatives all over the state and “Don’t Break the Trust”.
Don Wallace, CPA 205-331-9343 Tuscaloosa County Commissioner and Vice-Chair Alabama Republican Party NO say the Conservatives of Alabama - on Tuesday September 18. More Data and Info, pros and cons on this election at http://alabamadefenders.us/ Forward to your Friends. A competitive election and low turnout, means your vote counts more. Forward and encourage your friends to vote this Tuesday.
Conservative Recommendations Alabama Constitution Amendment - November 6, 2012NO - Amendment 1 Environment Extend payments made to the Forever Wild Land Trust for a 20-year period.
? - Amendment 2 Bond issues Aims to allow issuance of general obligation bonds of no more than $750 million.
YES - Amendment 3 Admin. of gov't. Would define the Stockton Landmark District within Baldwin County.
? - Amendment 4 Civil rights To remove references to segregation of schools in the state constitution.
YES - Amendment 5 Natural resources Transfer liabilities to Mobile Area Water and Sewer System.
YES -Amendment 6 Health care Would prohibit mandatory participation in any health care system.
YES - Amendment 7 Labor Would allow for the use of secret ballots in union votes.
YES - Amendment 8 Legislatures Provide that the compensation paid to legislators do not increased during term of office.
NO - Amendment 9 Taxes Allows legislature to implement business privilege tax on corporations.
NO - Amendment 10 Admin. of Gov't. Relating to authority of state legislature and banking in the state. YES - Amendment 11 - Local Lawrence County. Allows Lawrence County to keep Decatur from running over them.
Alabama Amendments to Constitution Election November 2010 (Old)Alabama Constitutional Amendments - Recommendations from conservative
This Tuesday, Alabama voters will decide on six constitutional amendments. Also, a local amendment for Jefferson County will be on the ballot. We recommends the following on the amendments:
Amendment One: We recommends a NO vote. During the first administration of Gov. Fob James, a huge quantity of oil was discovered off the coast of South Alabama, reaping a great windfall for Alabama government. Gov. James wisely urged that the monies be placed in trust so that the interest would benefit Alabama interests for generations to come. When Gov. Wallace was in office, additional oil windfalls were also placed in trust.
Now, Montgomery is asking us to free up principal to spend on current needs. Tim James is leading the opposition to this amendment (click link for information). we believes that the temptation to spend the principal is unwise and makes it easy for Montgomery politicians to spend at the expense of future generations. Vote NO on Amendment One.
Amendment Two: Vote Yes to create a Judicial Commission for Shelby County as already operates in Jefferson and Madison Counties. This commission would present a slate of three candidates to the Governor for appointment. However, the appointee would serve only until the next election, and must stand for election to a full term. This keeps a future liberal Governor from making a purely political appointment in a heavily Republican county.
Amendment Three: Vote No on raising taxes for schools in the Madison section of Limestone County. With government too big and taxes taking an excessive amount of our economy, Musings from Maytown uniformly opposes new taxes at any level. Amendment Four: Vote YES to require Blount County voter approval before a city outside Blount County to annex a portion of Blount County. This amendment is a reaction to Birmingham's past effort to annex areas in Blount County, without voter approval. This amendment does allow for an annexation of Woodhaven Lakes, on the county line, into Pinson--a plan already in the works.
Amendment Five: Vote Yes to allow Russell County to ask for local legislation to set court costs.
Amendment Six: Vote Yes to allow Tuskegee to make the office of Utilities Board an elective post.
Jefferson County Amendment: Vote YES to require that tenants are liable for sewer bills. Jefferson County has had a rash of unpaid sewer bills and has been seeking payment from owners, rather than the ones who caused the sewer bill. In the past, the county has excused the tenant and sought payment from the owner of the property.
im James Recommends NO on Alabama Amendment 1: 0f Nov 2010 This week's bad financial news serves as a strong reminder to us that we must turn to leaders who will be good stewards of our tax dollars and not over-commit us to levels of government spending that we can't afford. We've witnessed in recent years some of the most creative public financing in the history of America. Government bail-outs of Wall Street banks and mega-mortgage funds like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are prime examples of what I'm talking about.
Here in Alabama, we have on the ballot, a constitutional amendments that will enable state legislators to raid the Alabama Trust Fund in order to cover their over-spending of our tax dollars. I oppose this move to squander our future and our children's future for short-term gains. Below is an editorial I wrote that speaks to this issue. I hope you will give me your input as to how we best lead Alabama to a more prosperous future without sacrificing precious assets like the $3.2 billion Alabama Trust Fund.
Constitutional amendments threaten to drain the Alabama Trust Fund By Tim James
Millions of American families these days are feeling the pinch of the rough patch in our economy. As costs go up and income doesn't, it's time to rein in spending. The same goes for government. Alabama's constitution requires that we must have a balanced budget. Our legislature cannot pass a state budget that's out of balance. Deficit spending isn't an option.
Our leaders in Montgomery must exercise fiscal discipline to meet all our obligations while keeping an eye on projected income. One constant and reliable source of state revenue since 1981 has been income from the Alabama Trust Fund. Alabamians have benefited
handsomely from this fund, thanks to Governor Fob James Jr. In fact, the original $460 million invested in the Alabama Trust, then called the Heritage Trust Fund, came from a one-time payment from petroleum companies for the right to drill for oil and gas in Mobile Bay. At the time, politicians in Montgomery had big plans for spending the entire amount. My father had other ideas.
He said it was better to put this money in trust and invest it so the proceeds could build new schools, highways and even rebuild the Alabama State Docks.
When George Wallace was reelected to his fourth term in 1982, he followed my father's lead and put money the state received from offshore leases into a trust fund that merged my father's trust fund and the Wallace trust into the Alabama Trust Fund.
This perpetual trust, now grown to $3.25 billion, has yielded billions for worthwhile projects for Alabamians. It will continue to do so, unless voters approve two troubling constitutional amendments on November's ballot.
You see, in the waning hours of the Alabama Legislature's special session in May, legislation was brought to a vote that would give the green light to raid the trust fund. The bills, SB-14 and HB63, passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate. Perhaps legislators were caught flat-footed and didn't know what they were voting on, too tired after passing the state budget to examine these bills to find the devil in the details.
Here's what Montgomery Independent columnist Bob Gambacurta recently wrote on this subject:
As they did this year, lawmakers tend to appropriate more money than realistic revenue projections will cover. As a result, they end up tapping into a rainy day account funded from the Alabama Trust Fund. Remember, that fund was originally established as a perpetual savings account, with only the interest earned available to lawmakers. Rainy day accounts, funded in this manner create an avenue for lawmakers to pilfer the Alabama Trust Fund.
The raid on the Alabama Trust Fund is already underway or soon will be. If these amendments are ratified by voters in November, it will give lawmakers a bigger slice of the trust fund to raid. In effect, the constitutional rainy day accounts are funded with borrowed money. Common sense tells us rainy day accounts should be funded from savings, not by borrowing.
The Montgomery Independent, June 12, 2008 Another questionable outcome of these amendments, if voters approve, will be expanding the size of state government at a rate of 10% annually. That means, regardless of need or other factors, state government will expand rapidly such that it will double in size within a decade. Some people may find this approach to be to their liking, because they love Big Government.
However, once the politicians in Montgomery gain access to the Alabama Trust Fund, you can bet that the $3.2 billion corpus won't last long. Their appetites for spending, whetted by draining the trust fund, could easily lead to higher taxes to pay for the new programs and overhead they will create.
One footnote I would like to add: My keen desire to protect the Alabama Trust Fund comes not from my father's involvement, though I am deeply proud of him for it. Rather, it's born of being a staunch advocate for the taxpayers of Alabama who deserve fiscal responsibility from the men and women they elect to represent them in Montgomery. Let's not point fingers at who pushed this highly questionable legislation. That's immaterial. The issue before us is simple: Are we going to hand over the Alabama Trust Fund so that it can be drained, or are we going to do the right thing and just say "No" to these amendments?
Let's hope the people of Alabama make the right call this November, for the future of our children and grandchildren in this great state.
In fiscal year 2007, over $100 million from the trust fund went to the state general fund plus another $32 million to other trust accounts for Alabama counties, cities and state wildlife conservation. It's the largest non-tax source of state revenue, providing a cushion to help stave off unwarranted tax hikes.
Alabamians I've talked to want to keep the trust fund intact and out of the reach of the politicians. Once the politicians break open the trust, they tell me, it's only a matter of time when they take the rest of the $3.35 billion. And, when that happens, we'll be even more vulnerable to tax hikes.
Those who favor Amendment One are saying that the law requires the state to pay back the "loans" from the trust fund within five years. What they don't tell you is that every time the state raids the trust fund, under this new law, an additional 25% of the amount withdrawn is deposited into the County and Municipal Government Capital Improvement Trust Fund. And they don't have to pay any of it back.
The devil truly is in the details with Amendment One.
If the Governor calls proration, under Amendment One, up to $248 million can be taken from the Alabama Trust Fund's Educational Trust Fund Rainy Day Account. Add another $50 million for counties and cities, and we have reached a point where there's more money being taken out of the trust fund than going into it. You can see the scenario, and it's not one that bodes well for our future.
What people tell me is that it's time for the politicians to live within their means. Fiscal discipline is the order of the day, especially as we face uncertain economic times ahead. The days of a flush state treasury may well be behind us and not return for some time. State officials tell us tax revenues are declining and we may well be facing proration in 2009, setting up a massive raid on the trust fund, IF voters approve Amendment One this November.
Please write your local newspapers and tell them your stand on this issue that affects everyone in Alabama.
Thanks for your time and let me hear from you.
BY TIM JAMES 2010, Inc. - 8138 Seaton Place - Montgomery, Alabama 36116 - 334-213-2332 - Fax 334-213-2524
National Taxpayers Union - Suggestions on Alabama Constitutional Amendments( - ) Statewide Amendment Number One would expand a "rainy day" fund for education spending and relax associated borrowing rules. The measure would allow for an increase in the amount of money borrowed from the fund, and the repayment period would increase to six years instead of the current five-year payback horizon. Taxpayer advocates are concerned that this measure would encourage more state spending at the expense of prudent budgeting practices.
( - ) Statewide Amendment Number Three would allow the City of Madison to levy an ad valorem tax for public schools in Limestone County equal to those currently levied in Madison County. This could have a modest impact on the property tax bills of Limestone County residents.
(+) Baldwin County residents can vote on Local Amendment Number One, which would allow for the appointment of additional members to a board that hears objections to property tax assessments. This could allow for more timely hearings for taxpayers pursuing lower valuations.
( -) Chilton County residents can vote on a measure to levy a special tax on properties outside corporate limits for emergency services.
(+) DeKalb County residents can vote on Local Amendment Number One, which would prohibit an occupational tax.
(+) Jackson County residents can vote on an amendment to prohibit an occupational tax.
( - ) Tallapoosa County residents can vote on a measure to authorize a special fire district, to be funded by a new property tax.
http://www.ntu.org/pdf/20081006_NationalBallotGuide.pdf Alabama Ballot Measure / Referendum Statewide Amendment Number Two
Description: Relating to Shelby County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, establishing the Shelby County Judicial Commission and providing for the filling of vacancies in the offices of circuit and district judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit. (Proposed by Act 2007-225)
See detailed information on all 11 State Wide Amendments at:
Alabama Constitution Amendments November, 2012
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Alabama Constitutional brings you these weekly Bible verses:
[ The LORD's Answer ] Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past,
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