Voters okay fundsPublished 10:10am Wednesday, September 19, 2012
With a light voter turnout expected across the state, a referendum was passed Tuesday that will allow state officials to borrow from a trust fund to help meet budgetary needs in Alabama.
Early Tuesday evening, results from across Escambia County reflected a trend that continued across the state.
By a margin of nearly four to one, Escambia County said “yes” to the amendment, while, statewide, the ratio was closer to two to one in favor of the change.
Late Tuesday night, Gov. Robert Bentley thanked voters for siding in favor of the amendment.
“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.”
With more than half of the county precincts reporting, nearly 80 percent of voters in Escambia County voted “yes,” while only 20 percent voted “no.”
Probate Judge Emilie Mims estimated 25 percent of registered voters in the county showed up at the polls Tuesday.
“I think you’ll see that trend continue as the votes are counted,” Mims said Tuesday night.
Although statewide results were not available as of press time, political forecasters predicted correctly that the referendum would pass across the state.
Bentley said the referendum was yet another step in his administration’s efforts to maintain and add jobs, while saving Alabama money.
“In the first 20 months of this administration, we have passed laws and taken executive action that will save the state $675 million annually,” Bentley said. “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.”
Bentley went on to add that, even with some successes achieved, Tuesday’s passing of the amendment was necessary for Alabama to get back on track financially.
“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,” Bentley said. “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.”