Last week, the state reportedly came up $200 million short of orders on a $725 million prison bond sale approved by the Alabama Legislature last year for the construction of two new mega-prisons, one in Elmore County and the other in Escambia County.
Reports have suggested the headwinds came from a difficult market under the strain of inflation and political pressure from advocacy groups opposing the prison construction.
During a press availability that aired on this week's broadcast of Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal," State Finance Director Bill Poole acknowledged difficulties in the long-term bond market. However, he downplayed the role politics had played.
"We're pleased with that outcome," he said. "We hoped to sell a little bit more. The market was difficult in the longer-term maturities. We had over a billion dollars in short-term maturities, which tells us the projects were acceptable to the markets. There simply wasn't interest in long-term maturities in the market."
Poole said this was a known factor long before inflation struck the economy when asked about the political opposition.
"We don't think it was a significant factor," Poole replied. "There have been groups that are opposed to incarceration at all, at any level, for any reason that have opposed this from the beginning. We knew that their voices would be out there as it relates to this financing. But we did not have a substantial impact on the investors as it relates to acquiring bonds."
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.
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