By Sen. Roger Bedford, Senate Majority Leader
On Tuesday, Alabama voters approved a constitutional amendment, which allows the transfer of $437 million, over three years, from the Alabama Trust Fund to make up for revenue shortfalls in the state’s General Fund. The General Fund finances programs like Medicaid, mental health, prisons, the courts and many other state agencies. Democrats in the Alabama Senate collectively supported the passage of the constitutional amendment on Tuesday.
“We applaud voters for making the decision to safeguard services for Alabama’s most vulnerable citizens and protecting jobs for Alabamians with the passage of this constitutional amendment,” said Senator Vivian Davis Figures (D-Mobile). “We avoided across the board cuts that could have been devastating, especially to our seniors, children and the mentally impaired.”
Democrats supported the amendment because of the negative direct impact that the lack of these critical funds would have on the health and safety of Alabama’s children, senior citizens, and families.
“This tells the Republican supermajority that the people of Alabama value the welfare of working families above the priorities of partisan politics,” said Senator Marc Keahey (D-Grove Hill). “The voters of Alabama made the right decision by passing the constitutional amendment today.”
As we now begin work on a permanent solution, the Republican supermajority should consider the people’s message to be a priority.
Democrats in the Senate supported the passage of the amendment, but they were critical of the Republican supermajority’s inability to balance the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year during the regular legislative session.
“While I am relieved that the amendment passed to preserve the financial and physical health of Alabama, it is disappointing that the Republican supermajority failed to demonstrate leadership,” said Senator Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery). “The Republicans refused to make the tough decisions they were elected to make during the legislative session to avoid a fiscal crisis.”
Now that the constitutional amendment has passed, Democrats are turning their focus on requiring that any money borrowed will be repaid to the trust fund and developing long-term solutions for the General fund’s future.
“In light of the constitutional amendment passing, Democrats in the Senate want to ensure that all of the money borrowed from the trust fund will be paid back and that a long-term solution to our state’s budget woes is developed,” said Senate Minority Leader Roger Bedford (D-Russellville). “Democrats in the Senate will remain steadfast in holding the Republican supermajority in the Legislature and the Governor’s office accountable to developing something better than a band-aid solution to funding services that people depend on to survive.”