Alabama voters approve amendment to transfer money

Published 9:37 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Alabama voters approved a constitutional amendment to take money from Alabama Trust Fund and put it into the general fund budget for the next three years by a 2-to-1 margin.

Gov. Robert Bentley promised those who supported the amendment that the money will be paid back.

“I want to thank the voters for approving the state’s plan to temporarily borrow funds from our savings account to help get us through these difficult economic times without raising taxes,” Bentley said. “Once again, I pledge to the people of this state that the funds transferred to help support critical state services will be paid back.”

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Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said the approval helped the state avoid a “crash landing.”

“Today’s vote was an acknowledgement that we’ve made significant strides over the past two years in reforming state government and the people trust us to be good stewards of taxpayer resources. We’re working to solve complex budget issues that have been compounded by years of one-time money and excessive government spending,” Marsh said. “This transfer is a bridge to help us avoid a crash landing while we continue working to implement cost-cutting measures that will lead to a more fiscally responsible state government. Overall, I’m thankful that the people of Alabama are supportive of our efforts to continue moving the state forward.”

State Democrats said they would work to make sure the money is repaid.

“The people of Alabama have spoken, and I am glad that Medicaid will avoid disaster for at least one more year. But the problem has not gone away, and if we do not act soon, we will be right back here in three years,” said House Minority Leader Craig Ford. “We cannot pass the buck again. When legislators return to Montgomery, House Democrats are going to demand that the first bill we pass be legislation to require the borrowed money be paid back in full.”