Cam Ward addresses Helena Kiwanis Club

Published 4:47 pm Friday, February 26, 2016

State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster addressed the Helena Kiwanis Club on Tuesday, Feb. 23. (Reporter Photo/Graham Brooks)

State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster addressed the Helena Kiwanis Club on Tuesday, Feb. 23. (Reporter Photo/Graham Brooks)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The Helena Kiwanis Club meets every Tuesday morning at the Helena Senior Center, and on Feb. 23, the club had the privilege of hosting a local state senator.

State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, addressed the Helena Kiwanis Club as the keynote speaker where he discussed a variety of topics ranging from the state’s general fund budget, education budget, the hot topic of minimum wage, gas taxes and more.

Ward spent the majority of the time informing Kiwanis members of the ongoing discussions of budget cuts in mainly the general fund, status of the education budget and why the tax revenue for gas is going down.

“Four or five years ago, all the action in politics and fighting was in the education budget and the education arena,” said Ward. “Particularly after the 2008 recession, the budget took such a heavy hit because your sales and income taxes just dropped. Jobless rates went up, revenue went down so you saw a lot of fight in the education arena. The big fight you’ll see now this year in education is do we give teachers and retirees a four-percent raise, a five-percent raise or a six-percent raise. The new fight in education by the way is between higher ed and k-12, they fight like crazy.”

Ward also took the time to discuss the proposal of raising the gas tax.

“The last time gas taxes in Alabama were raised was 1992 and there truly was a mistake made,” said Ward. “What they did was, as opposed to like Georgia and other states where they raised a percentage, they would do cents so what you did was you basically kept yourself from ever growing. So if gas is $10 a gallon or $1 a gallon, you paid the same amount of taxes on your gas and what it did was over time you’d see a flat line in the revenue for roads. All gas taxes are what funds your roads in Alabama. What’s happened now is we’ve gotten smart. We started using fuel-efficient cars, we’re all driving smarter and we started going ways where we didn’t have to buy as much gas. So now your tax revenue for gas is going down.”

Ward finished his time answering questions he received from the Kiwanis members as well as the Key Club members who were in attendance.

When Ward was asked why should a young person go into government nowadays when the culture has shifted with more hatred towards politicians, Ward responded by saying that social media now plays a large role but serving is still the right thing to do.

“Use to be we would have discussions and disagreements,” said Ward. “Now what has changed is the Internet and social media has changed everything. What you see is people are not afraid to get at that keyboard and say things that they would never say to your face. My point is also this, you have to be willing to expect that you’re going to take that kind of abuse. It is still a right thing to do to serve and there is still a nobility about serving.”