Governor Bentley’s Remarks Announcing 2016 Special Session


Watch the announcement video here.

“From the Tennessee Valley to the Gulf Coast, our Great State is rich in abundant resources, blessed beyond measure with all a state could ask for to prosper and to thrive. I believe the greatest of all our assets, is our People.

I have no doubt Alabama has the best, hardest-working people in the country.

We do work hard, we all just want to make a good living and I believe that we all want to make Alabama a Great State.

But in order for our state to be the best that it can be, we must once and for all solve problems that have held our state back for decades.

The State of Alabama has not and cannot, at this time, pay for the most basic services we must provide to our people.

We have tackled this problem every year I’ve been in office. First, we took on the task of right-sizing state government, cut wasteful spending and made your government more efficient.
We have borrowed money, and used one-time money, for decades, to fund ongoing essential services.

Then we proposed a very fair and balanced tax plan. But the representatives you sent to Montgomery said “That’s not the answer”.

We are reforming Medicaid from top to bottom, shifting the responsibility to manage the program from government workers to private sector stakeholders. This will slow the growth in Medicaid spending and save the taxpayers millions of dollars.
The time has come for us to find a permanent solution. This solution will provide funding that we can count on year after year, without ever having to raise your taxes or put one more band aide on our state’s money problems.

We must have a solution.

I am calling a Special Session of the Alabama Legislature to solely focus on solving Alabama’s funding crisis.

And I need you, the people of this Great State, to be a part of the solution.
The issue that I will put before the Alabama Legislature is simple. I’m asking that each legislator allow the people back home the right to vote on a statewide lottery. I have faith in the people of this state to make the right and the best choice. I trust the voters and our legislators must do the same. Let’s not stand in the way and deny your rights. Montgomery doesn’t have all the answers. Let’s hear from the people of this great state on whether the time has come to approve a statewide lottery, to help fund essential state services for our children, our elderly, those with mental illness and those who are in most need, as well as the men and women in law enforcement.

I will present to the Legislature simple, clean and transparent legislation that creates a lottery with no other gambling included.

When passed by the Legislature, you will be given the opportunity to vote on a Constitutional Amendment to enable that lottery.

I will also ask the legislature to create a statewide lottery commission to oversee and hold the lottery operations accountable, once it is up and running.

An Alabama lottery is expected to generate approximately $225 million annually, and my plan will dedicate the new revenue to the basic services our state must provide.

As you know, most of our neighboring states have lotteries and Alabamians are some of their best customers.

It’s time we stop supporting other states’ budgets and keep our money at home to solve our own problems.

I have always said I would not stand in the way of the people’s right to vote on a lottery.

We have not solved our funding crisis yet.

Now I am giving you, our people, the opportunity to fix this.

I’m giving you the right to vote on a lottery.

It is, I believe, after all other options have been exhausted, our best chance to solve this problem.

We will share more details about my proposal in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, I will be traveling this state, I’ll be coming to your communities, and I’ll visit with you and I’ll listen to you, and I want your representatives to also listen to you.

I want you to have the chance to vote on a lottery. Call your state senator and state representative and tell them to let you vote.

I love our Great State and I love the people of Alabama. And I truly want the best for all of our people.

Let’s all work together to make Alabama truly a Great State. Let’s all solve this problem.

God bless you all, and God Bless the Great State of Alabama.”