By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley released a message to Alabama voters on Friday asking for them to vote yes on Amendment Two to the Alabama Constitution when they vote on Tuesday. Amendment Two is supported by a bipartisan coalition of Alabama leaders in addition to Governor Bentley.
Gov. Bentley said, “Since taking office we have been able to attract more than 26,000 high paying jobs to the state of Alabama. I am committed to continuing that success, but I need your help to do that.” “This Amendment allows the state of Alabama to refinance existing bonds, to take advantage of lower interest rates and save approximately $30 million. This is sound, fiscal conservative policy.
Gov. Bentley said that Amendment 2, “Also gives Alabama credit for payments made to principle on previously issued bonds. This will grant us approximately $150 million to provide economic incentives to companies that want to bring good paying jobs to Alabama.”
Gov. Bentley said that, “Airbus in Mobile and Wrangler in Hackleburg are just two examples of the kind of positive impact that these incentives can have on Alabama, without raising taxes or increasing the debt limit.”
Amendment Two, if passed, would allow the state of Alabama to refinance loans at a lower rate. It also would allow the state of Alabama to sell up to $750 million in bonds to provide money to give as incentives for new industries to locate in the state. A “NO” vote would prevent the state from refinancing those outstanding debts and would prevent the state from selling another $750 million in incentives to attract new industries to the state.
Speaker of the Alabama House Mike Hubbard (R) also supports Amendment 2. Speaker Hubbard said, “By ratifying this amendment, the maximum amount of bonds that the commission would be able to issue would depend on the amount owed rather than the amount issued; their authority would instantly increase from $30 million to approximately $157 million, and would continue to grow as principal debt was repaid.”
Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield (R) said on Facebook, “We need Alabama voters who want more and higher paying jobs to come to Alabama to vote Yes on Amendment 2.”
Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy also is asking voters to vote yes on Amendment 2. Chairman Kennedy said, “If the amendment (two) fails and there are fewer funds to recruit industry, I imagine the Republican Supermajority and Governor Bentley could try again to raid the Education Trust Fund. While we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul here, Peggy and I held our noses and voted “YES” in order to protect our classrooms, teachers, state employees, and those who depend on public services from further cuts.”
Alabama Education Association (AEA) Executive Secretary Henry Mabry has all also urged voters to support Amendment Two. ‘The Alabama School Journal’ said, “The education community should support Amendment Two because it will provide needed economic development funds for the state to attract more jobs. Alabama can get 4,000 to 5,000 more jobs with just a portion of the proceeds authorized by the amendment, which takes no money from education.”