Baldwin County Deserves Our Fair Share!
According to local newspapers, south Alabama contributes almost 26% of the total revenue generated in Alabama and yet we get back pennies on the dollar. I’ve worked hard as a county commissioner to make do with what we have but now I am taking our fight to Montgomery – to get back our share.
Our rivers are full of fish, the streets are lined with oak trees, we have miles of sparkling beaches, and acres of productive farmland. Our schools are some of the best in the state, unemployment is low and property values are high. The secret is out – Baldwin County is a great place to live. But just as the water is full of fish, our communities are filling up fast with new people and we are stretching the seams.
Our county may look big on a map, but Baldwin County is a patch of small communities holding on to small-town southern values. We are faith driven and
We aren’t the only ones that benefit from what Baldwin County has to offer. Our community plays an important, yet undervalued role in the economy of our state. Our contributions to the state steadily increase, which means we should see an increase in how much funding we get back from the state. Coastal counties are outnumbered in Montgomery, and as a result, we only get a portion of what we deserve.
Baldwin County hosted close to 6 million guests in 2016, 1,600 of which stayed overnight. The taxes collected from their hotel and condo stays put about $637,500 in the state’s general fund. Coastal Alabama contributed 40% of the states total lodging tax, which is 4 times it’s share proportionately. We only saw one quarter of that 40% actually come back into Baldwin County.
When Deepwater Horizon spilled 210 million gallons of oil into our local waters, it devastated our coastal communities. Rather than help us rebuild, Governor Bentley and the Alabama Legislature robbed us blind, stealing millions in BP funding meant for coastal and economic restoration so that they could use it to pay off statewide debits like the rainy-day fund and to prop up Medicaid spending.
As Baldwin County grows, real estate is selling quickly, and our property values remain high. Those property taxes help fund our school system, so each time a house is built or bought in Baldwin County, our school system gets that much stronger. We collected roughly $140,000,000 in property taxes last year. That’s $10,000,000 more than we collected in 2016, and yet somehow the Baldwin County School Board was given $90,000 less in monthly allocations from the state.
It is time we had a champion in Montgomery. We need someone who will fight for what is rightfully ours, so we don’t keep having to dig ourselves out of a hole without a shovel.
Chris Elliott is not going to promise you he will fix our problems in Montgomery. He’s not going to tell you what he would do if given the chance to lead the charge toward fair representation in local government – he doesn’t have to – because he’s already doing it.
As a Baldwin County Commissioner, Chris led the effort in securing BP Restore funding for all 20 Baldwin County projects proposed in the first round. He voted to save the Baldwin County School System from a financial crisis by approving a “pay-as-you-go” program which will support $180 million in school construction projects. Chris has worked with other local and state officials in leading the effort to build the I-10 bridge. He has fought those in both Washington and Montgomery trying to divert GOMESA funding from the coastal communities where it belongs.
Chris Elliott has developed a strong working relationship with industry and association leadership and continues to foster a partnership with our elected officials in Montgomery. It is important that we have someone in our state senate who can work with our legislators on our behalf. We need a proven leader, who isn’t afraid to fight for what’s right.
Baldwin County has contributed millions of dollars to the state’s general fund. We have created jobs throughout the state, helped bolster the public-school system, and pad the general budget. We have done our part. It’s time we send someone to Montgomery who will fight for our fair share.