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September 11, 2003   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
September 11, 2003

Alabama voters soundly defeated Gov. Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax referendum Tuesday by more than a 2-1 margin. Alfa was a member of the Tax Accountability Coalition, the primary opponent of the plan.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the vote was 866,623, or 68 percent, against the plan to 416,310, or 32 percent, for it.

"The hard work and personal commitment of our members helped send a strong message to Gov. Bob Riley and the Alabama Legislature on Tuesday," said Alfa Farmers President Jerry Newby. "The overwhelming margin of defeat would not have been possible without the tireless work of our members and county Farmers Federations. Their contributions to this effort came in many forms--financial contributions by county Federations, individual donations and one-on-one campaigning. Each of these played a significant role in defeating the tax."

Now that the vote is over, Newby said the organization will be looking to the future. "The past is the past and our organization is ready to move forward," he said. "We are ready and willing to work with the governor and the Legislature for the best interests of our members and the people of Alabama."

However, Newby said there will be challenges ahead.

"When the Legislature returns to Montgomery for its regular session, the groups who pushed this tax plan will be lobbying for constitutional reform, property tax increases and the elimination of sales tax exemptions for agricultural input items. Unlike our organization, these groups are out of touch with Alabama taxpayers, and they will work to change state law so next time we won't have the opportunity to say 'no'."

Statewide, the governor's plan won 13 of 67 counties. Its worst defeat came in Cullman and Winston counties, where more than 85 percent of voters cast "no" votes. The strongest vote for the plan was in the Black Belt counties of Macon, Perry and Sumter.

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