Turnout grim, but tax passes Pike Co.

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Staff Wrier

March 21, 2000 11 PM

Only eight percent of Pike County’s registered voters bothered going to the polls during Tuesday’s Constitutional Amendment Election.

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According to the Pike County Board of Registrars, there are 17,616 citizens registered to vote in Pike County.

When the votes were counted, 1,419 actually voted either "yes" or "no" for the proposed amendment to the Constitution of Alabama 1901.

By 8 p.m. all the votes from 29 precincts had been counted and just over 84 percent of those voted to increase the state corporate income tax rate from 5 percent to 6.5 percent.

The unofficial report shows, 1,194 voted for the increase in the corporate tax and 225 voted against the proposal.

Pike County Probate Judge Bill Stone was disappointed in the voter turnout.

"Although we appreciate all who did vote today, we wish more people had participated," Stone said.

"Anytime you have a ballot that doesn’t contain personalities you can almost be assured voter turnout will be lower," Stone said.

He said between 30 and 40 percent of Pike County voters usually go to the polls.

If the Alabama Secretary of State’s office finds the official results shows a majority of the state’s citizens voted as Pike County did, the increases will be on taxable income of corporations beginning with the 2001 calendar year.

Proposal of the tax increase was the result of the United States Supreme Court declaring Alabama’s franchise tax on out-of-state companies to be unconstitutional. As a result of that decision, the state stands to lose $120 million each year and the state needs the money generated from passage of the amendment to operate.

For Stone and others, today’s election is just the beginning of what will be a busy political year.

Stone’s office has to make sure everything is ready for the Republican and Democratic Primaries on June 6, followed by the run-offs two weeks later.

"Now that this is over, we turn around and get ready for the June primaries," Stone said.

The General Election is in November.