Gov. Robert Bentley's office says Alabama's open records law doesn't cover budget cut proposals he could have implemented if Alabama voters had rejected the transfer of $437 million to the state General Fund budget. The Decatur Daily filed a public records request asking for correspondence between the governor and his staff or agency heads about possible cuts and about plans for early retirement incentives for public employees.
Gov. Robert Bentley has done something neither of Alabama's last two governors could do: Get voters to turn out in a special election to pass a major initiative defining their administrations.
Bentley said the constitutional amendment withdrawing money from the Alabama Trust Fund didn't involve moral issues like Gov. Don Siegelman's lottery vote in 1999 or tax increases like Gov. Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax plan in 2003.
About 22 percent of Alabama's voters turned out to approve a constitutional amendment withdrawing $437 million from a state trust fund to help balance the state General Fund budget for the next three years. Unofficial returns compiled by The Associated Press show about 600,000 of Alabama's 2.67 million voters participated in Tuesday's special election, and they approved the constitutional amendment 65 percent to 35 percent. The turnout was in line with the 20 to 21 percent predicted by Alabama's chief election official, Secretary of State Beth Chapman.
Election officials say the turnout for Alabama's single-issue election is light. Voters are deciding Tuesday whether to take $437 million out of a state trust fund to help balance the state General Fund budget for the next three years. Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen says the turnout in his south Alabama county could end up between 10 and 13 percent. Election officials in other counties say turnout picked up when the rain stopped, but it's still going to be small. Montgomery County is an exception. Elections Director Justin Aday said turnout could end up being 25 to 30 percent.
Politically active real estate developer Stan Pate of Tuscaloosa says he's planning a media campaign in the next few days to encourage no votes on Alabama's referendum Sept. 18. Pate says Alabama residents elected a Republican governor and Republican-controlled Legislature in 2010 because they wanted less government. He said GOP leaders are doing the opposite by pushing a constitutional amendment that would take $437 million out of a state trust fund to prop up the state General Fund budget for the next three years. Gov.
Gov. Robert Bentley says he won't propose any tax increases if Alabama voters reject a proposal to take more than $437 million out of a state trust fund to use for the state General Fund budget. Bentley said he made a promise to the people of Alabama that he wouldn't raise taxes on families and he intends to keep that promise. Bentley said he will also veto any broad-based taxes passed by the Legislature. Senate budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr of Decatur said the governor's no-tax position means it's almost certain the Legislature won't pass a tax.