MONTGOMERY — Alabama passed Amendment 1, the only item on today’s special election ballot. Voters favored the amendment by a two-to-one margin with 88 percent of the ballots counted.
The latest vote return showed the constitutional amendment with 353,878 yes votes (65 percent) to 187,775 no (35 percent).
The amendment would allow for about $145.8 million to be transferred from the Alabama Trust Fund to the $1.67 billion General Fund for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, and the two following years. The state would take $437 million out of the trust fund over the three-year period.
Votes locally didn't necessarily follow the state pattern. In Morgan County, 51 percent of voters favored the amendment. Votes against the amendment had a 56 percent majority in Limestone County. In Lawrence County, 59 percent of voters favored passage.
The amendment's passage means that non-education-related state agencies such as Medicaid, corrections and public safety will know how much money they can expect to receive for the next fiscal year and shouldn’t expect a major cut to start the year.
For months, proponents of the amendment, including Gov. Robert Bentley and many Republican lawmakers, have warned what a “no” decision today could mean for state agencies: The release of state inmates and closure of Department of Corrections’ work release centers in Morgan and Marion counties; a cut to Medicaid funding that would lead not only to reduced care for the about 900,000 Alabamians, but the closure of physicians’ offices and rural hospitals that also rely on the funding.
Opponents of the bailout, however, said that the trust fund, which generates interest annually for the General Fund, shouldn’t be raided to prop up an unsustainable state government. Meanwhile, they said lawmakers didn’t do this year the only Constitutionally-mandated job they have: To pass a balanced budget.
Not registered? Click here
|High School Sports||@DecaturPreps|