The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

October 7, 2012

Governor touts Amendment 2 as job creator

(Continued)

Democratic Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma said he voted against the measure in May because it allows a governor for the first time to keep issuing bonds over and over without a vote of the people, provided the total debt doesn't exceed $750 million.

"It was always a protective thing to go back to the people," Sanders said.

Bentley, a former Tuscaloosa physician, won election in 2010 by telling voters that Alabama was hurting economically and it needed a doctor. He promised to work for free until the unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent. It's currently at 8.5 percent.

As governor, Bentley said he's the official that a corporate CEO wants to talk to when deciding whether to locate a project in Alabama or another state.

"If we are looking at companies to come here, we have to be able to have some incentive money," the Republican governor said.

Bentley is speaking about the constitutional amendment several times each week throughout the state. It's the same strategy he used last month to promote a constitutional amendment that allowed his administration to get $437 million out of a trust fund to help balance the General Fund budget for the next three years. Voters approved that measure by a 2-to-1 margin.

Amendment 2 is one of 11 constitutional amendments that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Republican state Rep. Jay Love of Montgomery, who sponsored the legislation setting up Amendment 2, said the governor's campaign is crucial even though there is no campaign against it.

"It's an uphill climb for any constitutional amendment because there are so many on the ballot," he said.

From Dothan to Huntsville, Bentley has teased audiences with how many jobs might be created if they approve the amendment.

"We've got some projects I can't talk about," Bentley said. "We've got some major projects that will help this state that are truly significant — more significant than Airbus, and that's pretty significant."

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