The News Courier
— From staff reports
Limestone County’s economic leaders are showing their support for an amendment they believe would make Alabama more competitive in attracting new industries.
The Limestone County Economic Development Association’s board of directors passed a resolution Thursday in support of Amendment 2.
The proposed amendment, which will appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, would give the state credit for what it has paid on loans or a perpetual line of credit, depending on how you look at it.
“The passage of Amendment 2 will ensure that Alabama can continue to compete for new jobs,” the LCEDA said. “Amendment 2 will correct technical language regarding the refinancing of bonds by allowing the savings from lower interest rates to be used to recruit new industry and encourage existing industry expansions.”
The amendment would ensure the state stays competitive for economic development projects by ensuring incentive funds are available, LCEDA said.
The amendment is not a tax, the group said.
“It protects taxpayers because the bonds will be paid for by money from royalties paid to the state from oil and gas companies operating in state waters on Alabama’s coast,” LCEDA said.
Others oppose the proposed amendment.
For and against
Ralph Weber, president of the Tennessee Valley Republican Club, recently had this to say about the proposed Amendment 2, which he plans to oppose:
“Amendment 2 will allow the state to acquire more debt for the purpose of economic development,” Weber said in an October letter to Republicans. “This is not a good time for Alabama to add to its debt by creating a perpetual line of credit.”
State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, R-Madison, recently said he plans to vote “yes” on Amendment 2.
“The best way to describe what this amendment will do is to think of your home loan,” Holtzclaw said in his October newsletter. “Assume you had taken out a $250,000 loan over 15 years. After seven years, you decide to take on another loan for a car. While you are applying for that loan, the bank informs you that you still owe $250,000 for your home, even though you have been paying down the loan for seven years. This is how our law is currently structured; the entire loan, regardless of how much has been paid down, is counted on the books as debt. This amendment would give credit to the state for the portion of the loan that has been retired.”