Governor Robert Bentley's statement on constitutional amendment - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Governor Robert Bentley's statement on voter approval of constitutional amendment

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Governor Robert Bentley issued the following statement regarding voter approval of a constitutional amendment that allows a portion of the Alabama Trust Fund savings account to be allocated toward the state's General Fund over the next three years:

"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.  Once again, I pledge to the people of this state that the funds transferred to help support critical state services will be paid back.

"In the first 20 months of this Administration, we have passed laws and taken executive action that will save the state $675 million annually.  We will continue our efforts to increase efficiency and reduce government spending.  My goal is to identify a billion dollars in savings by the end of my first term, and that goal is well within reach.  Since taking office, we have helped create more than 26,000 new jobs for people in communities across Alabama, and we will aggressively continue our job creation efforts.

"Despite these savings and despite these new jobs, the General Fund still needs this temporary funding bridge from the Alabama Trust Fund to maintain essential services as we continue to streamline and right-size government.  We have also identified stronger sources of revenue for the General Fund without raising taxes.  Through these combined measures, we will put our state in a stronger financial position for the future."

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh:

 "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. 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."

House Minority Leader Craig Ford:

"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. 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.

We are also going to demand that the leadership propose a long-term solution to this problem so that we do not end up right back here in three years. It is time for the Republican leadership in Montgomery to do their job and lead. We have options; it's just a matter of whether or not the Republicans in Montgomery have the courage to lead."

Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party Bill Armistead:

"The voters of Alabama made their wishes clear tonight by voting to pass Amendment One, allowing our state government to transfer $437 million over the next three years from the Alabama Trust Fund to the General Fund in order to cover revenue shortfalls. Governor Bentley and our Republican legislators have promised that these funds will be paid back and legislation has already been drafted to be introduced in the next session of the Legislature.  I am also confident that they will continue to right-size our state government, so that necessary services can continue to be met in the most cost effective way possible. Under the continued Republican leadership, we must make sure that we never find ourselves in a similar situation again. Republicans were sent to Montgomery to bring spending under control. I applaud them in their efforts to do so far, and encourage them to continue to remain faithful to the mandate set before them."

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