A Cullman state senator is speaking out against the September 18 amendment vote to take more than $400 million out of the oil and gas fund over three years.
Republican state Senator Paul Bussman came to Homewood Friday to make his announcement opposing the September 18 vote.
"I'm opposed to amendment one and I encourage people of Alabama to oppose this amendment." Bussman said.
Bussman voted against the general fund budget in the legislature because that budget depends on the passage on the amendment to fund state agencies.
Governor Robert Bentley wants to use the money to prop up state services. State leaders, including Governor Bentley, say without the money Medicaid would face serious cuts and that could close some state nursing homes. The Alabama Department of Corrections would also face serous overcrowded conditions.
Bussman says he realizes the state has a lot of funding problems for Medicaid, corrections and other state services, but he does not think it is fiscally sound to take money out of the trust fund. Bussman says many are using scare tactics to get support for the amendment.
"This is not the best thing for the state of Alabama. This is not the only option for the state of Alabama, so I have to say I'm opposed to amendment one," said Bussman.
He says other states are making the hard choices now cutting back state services. He believes money can be found in Medicaid reform and curbing fraud to keep Medicaid services going.
"I think you can deal with medical fraud immediately. That is not something you have to have legislation to do. Computerizing and getting everyone on the same page may take legislation to make that happen." Bussman said.
The Republican senator from Cullman also doubts the state of Alabama is going to open the doors to overcrowded state prisons if the amendment fails to pass.
Keep Alabama Working is a group pushing for passage of the amendment one. Spokesperson Rick Journey adds that other key legislative leaders disagree with Bussman.
"The republican leadership of Del Marsh and Jabo Waggoner, the junior senator's leaders support it." Journey said.
Journey says major groups such as the Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Retail Association all agree reforms must be made but help is needed now.
"Critical decisions have to be made long term. They all agree with that. We need to address the immediate situation. The only solution out there is Sept. 18, a yes vote." Journey said.
Friday, the Alabama State Employees Association came out in support of the amendment. Rep. Craig Ford, the minority leaders in the House of Representatives urged voters to say no. Ford says the legislature's republican leadership has failed to solve the state's problems. The Alabama Democratic Party has endorsed the amendment. The Alabama Republican Party has not taken a position on the vote.
The vote is September 18th.
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