On September 18 the State of Alabama has a chance to vote on amendment One, the newest bad idea to come out of Montgomery. If it passes, the citizens of Alabama will give the state the chance to borrow up to half a billion dollars from a trust fund over the next three years.
proponents of the amendment, including the legislators, think it should pass because if it doesn’t state programs will have to be cut and that means schools, nursing homes and other programs will not be able to function.
This is a lie.
I want you to try a little experiment. You have your own budget. I want you to go to your boss and try this line on him and see how it works. “Mr. Boss, I need you to give me a raise. I need this raise because I set up my budget for the next year and I can’t meet my budget unless you give me a raise.”
How’d it work for you?
It shouldn’t work for the legislature either.
Under the Alabama Constitution, the legislature is supposed to submit to the governor a balanced budget. Instead of doing the hard work required in these trying economic times, they simply passed last year’s budget over again, even though they knew we didn’t have the tax revenues to cover it. The plan, from the very beginning, was to raid the trust fund to make up the difference.
Have you ever known a government agency that wouldn’t spend money if they could get their hands on it? Right now, the trust fund (which comes mainly from offshore drilling leases) has around $1.3 billion dollars in it. It’s sitting there, earning interest and the legislature can’t handle it. They WANT that money, even though under the law they can’t have it.
So they want to raid the trust fund by changing the law, get the revenue shortfall covered by the fund and move ahead without doing the hard work required to fix the current budget within the limitations of the revenue.
Why should we allow a half a billion dollar raid on the trust fund just because they are too lazy to do their jobs?
We shouldn’t. It’s a bad idea.
Now these same people will lie to your face and tell you that they will pay it back over the next ten years. It is a lie. There is absolutely nothing in the amendment that will make them pay back one cent. Without the legal requirement to do so, they never will.
And all those dire things they say will happen to all those state programs? A lie. Oh, some will be cut, some maybe drastically, but what will REALLY happen is the legislature will be called back into a special session and they will have to deal with writing a budget balanced against our revenues. Like they were supposed to do in the first place.
And the cries that old folks will die? Do you really think the legislature will let that happen, when their own votes will hold them accountable? Of course not. They want to get re-elected after all.
So please, don’t by the hype coming out of Montgomery right now. The amendment is a bad idea, one that the legislature should be embarrassed about offering the people of Alabama.