Senator promises tax fight

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The buzz has already started in Montgomery. We need new taxes.

The latest numbers from the Legislative Fiscal Office in Montgomery lend fuel to the fire.

Their report shows that Alabama had a good year and a bad year in 2004.

The Education Trust Fund brought in a whopping $500 million extra; but the General Fund fell short nearly $255 million.

The Education Trust Fund covers the needs of all the public schools in this state while the General Fund covers everything else from prisons to the poor.

One is fat and one is lean. What do we do?

One side in Montgomery says we simply have to have new taxes to cover the shortfall in the General Fund.

The Republicans counterargue that the people have spoken loud and clear in the Amendment One battle – no new taxes.

Thus the lines are drawn in the sand for the up-and-coming Legislature in February.

Will it be new taxes, more cuts or what?

The governor has yet to present his budget but some already say that his budget is dead on arrival.

Because we Republicans are so outnumbered in Montgomery, that may be true.

Then the Legislature will pull out its own version and go to work.

However, we will put up a mighty fight if new taxes are brought up.

We believe the people spoke once and for all when they said overwhelmingly, no new taxes.

Therefore, we will look at extensive cuts to Medicaid and other agencies to deal with the shortfall and balance the books.

Those cuts will be mighty painful unless the teachers would be willing to help out and share some of their abundance.

They don’t have to do it; but it sure would help.

Hank Erwin serves as state senator. He resides with his wife in Montevallo