Oppose Amendment 3 on Nov. 2

Published 11:02 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In January of 1985, Gov. Wallace called a special session to conserve and preserve forever Alabama’s oil and gas revenue from offshore wells. He and the state legislature knew then that this vital source of general fund revenue would be viewed as “low hanging fruit” for any and all to pluck unless strong protections were made part of the referendum upon which everyone voted. I was serving as lt. governor at that time. On May 14, 1985, the citizens of Alabama voted by a wide margin – 157,000 to 79,844 – to make the corpus of the trust and 10 percent of its annual revenue untouchable. We did so after this brilliant idea was so popular that the Alabama House of Representatives approved it 97-0 and the Alabama Senate approved it 26-6. It has been a blessing beyond counting for the State of Alabama ever since.

Now we are being asked to remove these prudent limits upon depletion of the Trust Fund by siphoning away from the corpus of the trust and its 10 percent dividend enormous sums for road construction. I have nothing against roads. I have nothing against dozens of other purposes for which approved revenue from the Trust Fund can be spent. No doubt, the need regarding our roads is real. There is and will always be numerous other real or perceived needs (Medicare, schools, prisons, etc., etc., etc.) today and through the years. My objection is to allowing any need, no matter how legitimate, to destroy this irreplaceable treasure that exists for our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren, down through the ages.

Our country and state are in a severe recession. Times are hard. But in times like these we should act especially prudently, having the practical judgment and good common sense to preserve a one-of-a-kind nest egg that we will never see again if it is broken. It was created 25 years ago, and has been steadily increasing exactly as its founders envisioned.

Please join me in voting “No” to Amendment No. 3. It is a misguided attempt to destroy a treasure that, once lost, can never be restored.


Bill Baxley