Bentley Working On Plan "B" If Amendment Doesn't Pass

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By Lisa Blackwell

Governor Robert Bentley says he's working on a plan "B" just in case voters dont pass the constitutional amendment on Tuesday.

The referendum would allow the state to take 437 million dollars from the Alabama trust fund over a three year period.

Governor Bentley says he hopes voters will vote in favor of the amendment, but if they don't, he's working on a backup plan.
 

A lot is riding on this Tuesday's referendum vote. If voters approve it, the state will dip into it's trust fund account to pay for a huge gap in the general fund budget.

But if they don't Bentley says he'll be ready.

"We're working on that and we're working on that today," said Bentley.
 
He says if the amendment fails the state could be facing more proration.
 
"Right now, if it were total amount of the loss, it would be around twelve percent, probably, but we can't say that for certain," said Bentley.
 
He says there are a number of federal bills coming due to the federal government that people don't know about.
 
"We're looking at approximately 176 million dollars that we expect we're going to have to pay that we haven't gotten a bill for that's not counting if it goes down and we're down 184 million dollars, it's going to be difficult," said Bentley.
 
Bentley says he won't decide if he'll call a special session until after the vote. Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange hopes it passes. He says thirty two percent of state workers live in the river region.
 
"At an average compensation of fifty or sixty thousand dollars, you can do the arithmetic on what the impact to us would be, it would be several million dollars in tax revenue," said Strange.
 
Representative Joe Hubbard opposes the referendum and says there are other ways to make up for the shortfall.
 
"It's an investment account where the people's oil and gas revenues have been put in trust to protect that money from politicians and taking it out of that trust now to try and bail out a medicaid agency that needs reform is fiscally irresponsible," said Hubbard.
 
Lawmakers passed next years 1.6 billion dollar general fund budget based on the amendment passing so if it doesn't pass, they must have another way to solve the budget crunch before October 1st.
 
The new fiscal year begins on October first.

Expert say low voter turnout could allow the amendment to pass, while a strong turnout could defeat it.
 
Voters will cast their ballots on Tuesday, September, 18.

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