On September 18, the state is holding a special referendum on a constitutional amendment that, if passed, would provide a lifeline for the ailing General Fund. You might ask, “Why would educators be so concerned about the General Fund?” The answer is simple. We know that the children and families we serve depend on services from the General Fund in order to come to school healthy, secure, and ready to learn.
The proposed amendment allows the state to use money from the Alabama Trust Fund (ATF) for three years to help fund critical state services and avoid their collapse. Contrary to some beliefs, passage of the amendment will not drain the ATF. The trust fund currently has $2.3 billion in investments and continues to collect royalties from oil and gas found in the Gulf of Mexico. Even after the 3-year withdrawal, the state’s ATF will have $300 million more than it does today.
During this three year period, our elected officials will have ample time to develop a long-term solution to adequately finance the General Fund. It is important for this problem to be addressed.
Further cuts to essential state services for our most vulnerable citizens are unconscionable and dangerous to the future of our state. A “YES” vote helps us protect important services for our children and our community, and it gives our elected leaders three years to develop a permanent, more sustainable, solution.
Groups all across the state have expressed their support for this amendment. On September 18th I will proudly join them by going to the poles and voting yes for this amendment. I encourage you to join me in support of this amendment.