The legislature down in Montgomery have taken the last few weeks off, after the governor called a special session. Now with only 9 working days left, the legislature is coming back into session on Monday. And I thought I needed to talk about what needs to happen down there, if it does happen. I mean, you have a speaker of the house who is facing over 20+ felony corruption charges. You have several powerful business lobbyists (cough, ALFA, cough), who is stopping Alabama from doing the right thing, which is to raise and reform the property taxes. And you have several other legislators who are wanting to defy the feds when they come in to take over the prison system and other state agencies, good times!
To urge the legislature to do something. I mean, just cutting even more will mean a federal takeover, there have been two statewide polls conducted in the last few weeks. The first poll commissioned by the Alabama Council for Excellent Government asked 500 Alabamians about how is the best way to solve the general fund crisis. While most opposed cutting Medicaid and other state services, the people wanted lawmakers to vote on raising taxes on cigarettes, soft drinks, and closing the tax loopholes. But, another poll from the Alabama Jobs Foundation paints a different picture. Most of these Alabamians did not support any tax increases. And they did not support major cuts, most pollsters supported the Del Marsh plan that would expand gambling in Alabama and start a lottery.
So which poll do you believe? And will the legislators even pay attention to those two polls? I don’t know! I can tell you this for sure, the state has a desperate need for a leader! Someone who will realize that the tax structure in this crazy state is so messed up that it needs a major fixing! No amount of gambling, major cuts, or even combining the budgets are going to fix this problem. This all stems from that 1901 constitution, the longest in the world, that gave power to white powerful landowners. That constitution gave landowners way too cheap property taxes while making the poor suffer with sales and other taxes.
Heck, there is even talk to raise the state sales tax. How does a 10 1/2% or 11% sales tax in Alabama feel to you? The biggest problem holding Alabama back is its old constitution. And by the way, Alabama is doing the worst in the southeast when it comes to job and economic growth. Plus Alabama is second to last in job creation with Alaska being worse. So crazy legislators down in Montgomery, how many special sessions is it going to take to get things right? Because I don’t think you will solve this problem with the first special session.
Many on the right are calling the legislature to refuse any tax increases, and also refuse any gambling expansions, and rely on the “Republican values of limited government and lower taxes.” Let me sum that up in simple terms for people who are a little more intelligent. They really mean to cut back so much that it harms people who are poor and disabled while having the super rich hoard money and hardly pay any taxes. Am I right Republicans and Tea Party Sweet Tea drinkers?
So, what will really happen down in Montgomery in the next few weeks? I don’t know, but I should probably tell you this. Want to visit a Alabama State Park, do it before October 1st! Need to get your driver’s license or car tag renewed, do it before October 1st! On Medicaid and need to see a doctor, do it before October 1st! Basically, if you need to do anything that involves the Alabama government, do it before October 1st! Because after October 1st, all heck will break loose in Alabama. The state will be embarrassed in the national newscycle once again, and most will be only caring about football. As for me, I will be sitting back and eating some popcorn while enjoying the Alabama corruption show!