Amendments important, too

Published 1:14 am Saturday, October 30, 2010

In addition to all of the names that are on Tuesday’s ballot, there are four statewide Constitutional amendments and one local amendment. They are as important as the races to decide who our elected officials will be for then next four to six years.

Amendment No. 1. This amendment was designed to correct a problem with unintended language in a 2006 amendment. You might recall that was the year Alabama voters approved a statewide requirement for minimum education ad valorem taxes. Squirrelly language in the bill makes it questionable who pays the collection costs for property taxes. This bill corrects the language, and does not add any new taxes. We support this amendment.

Amendment 2. This amendment retains the portion of Alabama’s Constitution of 1901 which retains the requirement for voter approval on additional property taxes; however, it reduces the requirement for approval from 75 percent of the votes cast a requirement for a simple majority of votes. We support this amendment.

Amendment 3. This amendment takes $1 billion out of the state’s oil royalty funds currently in reserve to be used for roads and bridges. At present, the interest from these reserves fund state government. Proponents are advancing it as a bill to “create new jobs.” However, moving the $1 billion would cut the already-strapped state General Fund and Education Fund by about $3 million annually. No doubt, that would mean less jobs somewhere, and eventually, new taxes to make up the shortfall. We oppose this amendment.

Amendment 4. This is a local sales tax issue for Blount County. We neither support nor oppose this amendment, but suggest “taking a walk” and letting Blount County residents decide.

Local Amendment 1. This local bill relates to funding for the DA’s office and passed the state legislature at the request of Covington County DA, who earlier this month said there’s now no need for it, as a similar measure was passed statewide. We oppose this amendment.