Tax plan just went too far

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Well, here it is.

It’s been laid out there for all of Alabama to study, to ponder, to decide and finally, come September, to vote on.

The special session of the Alabama Legislature has left all of us with a lot to think about.

I have to tell you, though. I’m a bit perplexed.

Our problem, from the beginning, has been that we could not make our budget.

We could not meet our financial obligations statewide.

We do not have enough money to fund our schools, our court system, our prison system, our mental health system and on and on.

Now, when you employ thousands across the state including government employees, law enforcement officers and teachers, meeting your budget means paying their salaries.

So this is a serious, if not critical, issue.

What I don’t understand is this: Why on earth did the governor tack on an extra measure to the package to provide scholarships for students in Alabama.

In the governor’s $1.3 million tax package were increases in property taxes, income tax changes, an increase of the tax on cigarettes and a tax increase on stocks and bonds among others.

But also in the plan is the creation of a college scholarship program for Alabama high school graduates based on academic standing (B average) with family income not a factor.

I was sold on the need for the plan and the plan itself &045; until I studied that scholarship part.

Now it looks as if I will have to vote no on the entire plan, like many I have spoken with, because the governor just went too far.

If we already have financial problems, why, oh why, would we want to create just one more thing for which the state will have to pay?

And on top of that, if this passes, I will have to ask for an exemption.

I am a graduate of an Alabama high school (with an above average ACT score and a 4.0+ GPA).

I attended and graduated from Auburn University, an Alabama college. And I had to pay MY OWN WAY.

I’m still paying, in fact &045; just as I would venture to say, are many in Alabama.

I’m paying back those loans I had to have to even go to school and I will be paying for many years to come.

So, by no means, am I willing to pay to send someone else’s child to college.

And that’s really a shame, because the money is definitely needed and I believe the state is finally on the right track as far as accountability goes, although we are far from where we should be.

Unless this part of the tax package is made retroactive and the state of Alabama offers to repay my student loans, I guess I’ll just have to vote no.

Candace Parker is the news editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at