VFD funding secured in lottery bill

August 26, 2016 chris
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The state lottery bill that passed the Alabama House of Representatives last Thursday night includes additional funding for volunteer fire departments in all 67 counties in Alabama, due to an amendment to the bill by Rep. Richard Lindsey (D-Centre).

“Over the last several years, state funding for our volunteer fire departments has been cut to a bare minimum,” said Lindsey. “My amendment will restore funding to where it was before those cuts.”

The lottery bill splits the proceeds from the lottery between the state’s education and general fund budgets, with 90 percent going to the general fund budget and 10 percent going to education. Lindsey’s amendment states that of the 90 percent going to the general fund, one percent of that amount will be distributed evenly among all the volunteer fire departments in the state.

Gov. Robert Bentley has estimated that a lottery will generate an additional $225 million a year in new state revenue.  Lindsey’s amendment would dedicate approximately $2 million of that $225 million for volunteer fire departments, resulting approximately in an additional $2,000 per volunteer fire department in the state.

“It was a tough debate, and we couldn’t have gotten it passed without the help of the House Minority Leader, Craig Ford,” said Lindsey. “Representative Ford personally spoke with several legislators to help address their concerns and move them from being undecided to a ‘yes’ vote.”

“Representative Lindsey deserves a lot of credit for recognizing the need in our volunteer fire departments and taking action to help them,’ said Ford. “It’s a perfect example of how his experience and seniority in the legislature have paid off for our volunteer fire fighters and the people in Cherokee, Calhoun, Cleburne and Etowah counties.”

The amendment must now be approved by the state senate before the lottery can go to a statewide vote of the people.