Down to the wire
Voters will get their say Sept. 9
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle voters will head to the polls Sept. 9 to have their say on Gov. Bob Riley's sweeping tax and reform package.
According to Riley, the $1.2 billion plan is designed to do away with earmarking revenues, provide a much-needed financial boost through a range of new taxes, and provide greater accountability for state tax dollars.
But according to a poll released this weekend, Riley's message is falling on deaf ears.
In a poll conduced by the Mobile Press Register and the University of South Alabama, 57 percent of those who said they planned to cast their ballot on Sept. 9 said they would vote against Riley's plan. Twenty-six percent said they would vote for it.
That figure is up from a similar poll conduced in July, when 49 percent said they were planning to vote against the plan.
Opposition to the plan has included the Christian Coalition, the Tax Accountability Coalition and even much of Riley's own fellow Republicans.
In spite of the rising tide against the plan, Riley has been out beating the bushes for it, saying it's needed to make up the expected $675 million state budget shortfall. The shortfall would be made up through:
Riley said the revenue generation is just part of the package.
"The tax money raised is a big part to the plan, but the reform and accountability portions of the plan are designed to change Alabama for good," Riley said.
The reforms include eliminating "pork" money to legislators.
Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Voters will be required to show ID. The ID can include a driver's license or copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the name and address for the person casting the ballot.