Alabama faces budget woes despite borrowing $437M
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — State agencies that provide programs affecting every Alabama resident could end up with less money for operations in the coming fiscal year even though voters approved shifting $437 million from savings to shore up the beleaguered General Fund over three years. Cullman Times, 2/3/13
Fiscal Cliff Settlement Costs Ala. Schools $70 Million Local 15TV, AP
Alabama is facing a $200m shortfall even after borrowing money from itself to keep essential services intact, but you would never guess it from the raft of bills reducing its tax revenue and introducing new programs. Republicans like to revile Democrats as "tax and spend" liberals, but I see no superior virtue in "cut taxes, spend more, and pile up debt" conservatives.
Obviously the state needs more revenue, and that revenue is going to come off the hides of the people who live and work here. It's how you go about collecting it that produces either a reasonable burden everyone can live with or villagers with pitchforks storming the Capitol.
Here's a shining example of pitchfork production:
Under existing law, the state corporate income tax rate is set at six and one-half percent on the net income of corporations. This bill would propose...to reduce the tax rate... to five percent beginning with the calendar year 2015.---SB92
by Senators Paul Sanford and Scott Beason
and here's where I start lighting my torch:
Relating to public assistance; to require the random testing of a welfare recipient of TANF, food stamps, or Medicaid for substance abuse...---HB131 by Representatives Rich, Roberts, Johnson (W), Baughn and Sanderford
I have to wonder if there is a single bad idea in the whole country that doesn't get introduced in the Alabama Legislature. These programs are costly to implement and are a lot more about stigmatizing the needy than savings to the state - especially states that can afford to give brand new tax breaks to corporations. Much of what the state pays out is Federal money anyway - and Alabama ranks near the bottom nationally in benefit amounts.
I may bring a shovel too, because what we save on feeding the poor could go to Big Coal:
This bill would repeal the statutes providing for this privilege or license tax for the mining of iron ore.-------HB 193, by Rep. Roberts
I'm sure most of us remember the TVA slurry spill - those cleanup costs approach the billion dollar mark. We might also remember that coal mining on the Black Warrior will add hundreds of thousands of dollars in added costs for Jefferson County Water customers. It would appear that a "mining privilege tax" is quite justifiable given that the state and its residents bear the lion's share of the environmental and health costs associated with it.
There will be tens of millions (perhaps hundreds, eventually) spent rolling out the new law enforcement consolidation alone. Implementing welfare drug testing will be yet another money pit. School budgets might have to be stretched to include armed security guards if certain bills pass. WHERE is this money coming from?
Not from Slade Blackwell:
This bill would allow an Alabama resident who incurs a capital loss to carry forward the loss for state income tax purposes for three years from the year in which the loss is incurred.---SB 156
Is this the best thing we can do for the state right now, Senator? Give a few more tax breaks to wealthy people who pay some of the lowest property taxes in the nation?
Mr. Legislator would do well to remember that while not all the People went to his college, live in his neighborhood or attend his church, they are entitled to effective representation from their lawmakers just the same. It's about time we had some reasonable solutions to the budget crisis that don't rely on the poor to supply tax breaks for the wealthy. Trimming it off the disadvantaged and giving it right back to the 'job creators' isn't going to pay back the Trust Fund, or provide meaningful services to the residents of this state.