Change financial ways

All 140 members of the Alabama Legislature will meet in Montgomery for the next several months. It promises to be challenging.

Money will be the primary issue. Our two major funds are drastically short of revenues. The Education Trust Fund that covers all of our education needs is short $350 million. The General Fund that covers the rest of the needs from prisons to Medicaid is short nearly $600 million.

Major cuts are looming, rather than raised taxes. The people spoke loud and clear in the Amendment One vote of 2003 that they prefer cuts to taxes. We all heard their voices, and that’s what we intend to do.

All of us are looking to the stimulus package in Washington as a possible safety net. Alabama could get nearly $3 billion dollars in funds if it is passed.

While it is not preferable to take this bailout money, it is impossible to turn down.

However, it is hoped that it is a one time action. My gut feeling is that the bailout is a bandage that will not solve the problem. The damage to our economy is too deep for a swift solution. I believe it will take several years to recover.

In the meantime, my advice to all Alabamians is to take inventory now. Stash cash. Build a food pantry in the house. Pay down debt.

Alabama is a good place to be right now. We are not the worst off, and we’re not the best off. We are right in the middle of the national pain.

Right now let us prepare to help our friends and neighbors through the hardships of this economy and move on to a brighter future.

Alabama has been here for nearly 200 years, and we’ll be here until the Lord returns.

So, even though we have more pain on the horizon, we will get through the storm and learn some valuable lessons.

The short term will be challenging, but if we change our ways, the long run is promising indeed.