By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On September 18th Alabama voters will go to the polls to decide whether or not they want to give Gov. Bentley $437 million from the Alabama Trust Fund to prop up the embattled Alabama General Fund for three years. The issue has divided Republicans between those who want to “rightsize” Alabama’s out of control government spending and those who don’t want to “rock the boat” before their 2014 reelection campaigns. U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R) from Saks was asked about the September 18th referendum while at a reelection fundraiser in Pell City, Al.
The five term Congressman said that he did not want to tell anybody how to vote on the referendum, but he acknowledged that the $437 million trust fund raid was not something he would have done if he were still in the state legislature. Rogers said that the people of Alabama he talks to are opposed to the measure; but the controversial constitutional amendment could still pass if people do not come out to vote.
Rep. Rogers said that the teacher’s union, the hospitals, and the nursing homes will get out their voters and that if turnout is miniscule that could be enough to approve the unpopular measure. Rep. Rogers said that if the voters turnout the measure will be defeated. Rogers said that the key to defeating the constitutional amendment is if opponents are willing to spend money to get out their voters. Rogers said that it was his understanding that in three days Alfa, the forestry association, and other opposition groups were launching such a campaign.
Representative Rogers said that he represents some rural counties that depend on Alabama Medicaid and knows that the cuts to state government would be painful. Rep. Rogers said that he did not want to see rural hospitals close, but as a fiscal conservative he could not support raiding Alabama’s trust fund and if said that that was not something he would have done.