Proponents and Opponents Prepare For Amendment Vote Outcome


By Lisa Blackwell

While groups in favor of this amendment passing spent today getting their message out, some lawmakers spent the day preparing for a possible special session.

House Minority leader Craig Ford is against the amendment passing and is coming up with his own "plan B", should it fail. One of his proposals is to raise the cigarette tax by one dollar. He says it would raise more than 227 million dollars per year and create more money for Medicaid than the amendment would provide.

Representative Joe Hubbard, (D) District 73, says "What we're trying to do is remodel medicaid We've got to pay for Medicaid for those services while we remodel it, while we overhaul it."

Ford also proposes other options like starting a state lottery and closing corporate tax loopholes. We asked folks in Montgomery what they think.

Durham Cornett say "Everybody's worried about healthcare smoking cigarettes and not doing their health any good so that extra dollar spread out would I'm sure take care of the problem."

Tangela Hall says "I'm all for the lottery people do it anyway and the indians are making a lot of money from the casinos and I think that we could be making money and helping the schools."

George Clark, head of Manufacture Alabam,a says he's been encouraging members all day to vote in favor of the constitutional amendment. The group has a website Alabama Prosperity Project, devoted to informing the public why they should pass the referendum.

"This will be a tremendous embarrassment to the state of Alabama if we fail to do it, it will be used against the state of Alabama in industry recruitment," said Clark.

Clark is a former State Representative and an original sponsor of legislation that created the Alabama Trust fund. He says the money was intended for capital improvements and dire situations.

"I think we have a clear case for an emergency in the general fund," said Clark.

If the amendment fails there is a lawsuit before the Montgomery Circuit Court challenging the constitutionality of an unbalanced budget. The court can order the legislature back into session to balance the budget before the end of September, the end of the fiscal year.