Archived Story

Vote no to Amendment 1

Published 11:38am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dear Editor,

I will be voting NO on Amendment 1 on Nov 6.

This amendment calls for 20 years of funding for Forever Wild Land Trust by allowing Oil and Gas revenue to pass through the Alabama Trust Fund directly to the FWT. This amendment does not directly increase taxes but does affect revenue going into the General Fund which could indirectly increase taxes.

It takes money which could be used to fund essential services and gives it to the FWT in order to buy land.

The FWT has, in my opinion, been a beneficial organization in the past by helping to preserve valuable habitat for wildlife. Now, however, there are many who feel that the organization has abandoned its primary goals and is now only focused on leasing or buying up land for hunting leases.

Alabama owns more than 2 million acres of public land. The state is responsible for managing and maintaining those lands. Although some money is generated through leasing of these lands to hunters, fees for state parks, etc., the state must come up with that maintenance money. If the fees are insufficient, tax dollars are required.

For each acre of land purchased, that is one acre which is taken off the tax roles. The state through its leasing program is now in direct competition with land owners for hunting leases and other land use.

Although according to our state legislator, our republican legislature has trimmed the budget by about $600 million since 2010, there is still much trimming to be done and much spending restraint must take place. The money for this amendment is to come from Oil and Gas revenue which should be going back into the Alabama Trust Fund.

At a time when we just robbed the ATF to cover shortfalls in the General Fund and at the same time lack the discipline to curb spending, we absolutely cannot afford for one more dollar to go to nonessential programs.

I am in favor of limiting development in pristine forests, historical sites, and in essential wildlife sanctuaries; however, in the worst recession/depression in my lifetime(almost 70 years), it seems irresponsible for the state to spend money to purchase or lease more land.

In better times when we are not in such a desperate financial crisis and when we can develop some financial restraint, we can return to this issue and perhaps spend the money to buy more land. This is not the time.

For once, let’s be responsible with our finances.

Billy Sellers