Having faith in elected officials is now difficult

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

There are times in life when you have to put up or shut up in regards to a promised response.

The time for such an action has apparently arrived. State Superintendent of Education Ed Richardson told a gathered group of state school system administrators last week he had no alternative but to shut the doors of Alabama’s schools on Oct. 1 if the state legislature hasn’t passed a budget.

What he has accomplished in making these statements is place the load of bailing out education on the shoulders of the state’s tax payers. In essence, should the new tax package proposed by the governor and passed by the legislature not get voted in by the people of the state, there will be little chance a functioning budget could be in place by Oct. 1.

A vote will take place in September regarding the tax package – and if word on the street is any indication, things are looking very hopeful.

State leadership has said the package is the state’s best hope for fixing Alabama’s financial fiasco. Yet, that package is going to cost state residents more than $1 billion total over the course of the next four years.

At the heart of the new package will be ways of more efficiently appropriating finances through state departments. However, the subject most dealt with is education and funding it properly.

Teachers’ jobs depend on the Sept. vote. Schools staying open depend on the Sept. vote. Alabama continuing to be a laughing stock depends on the Sept. vote.

It is not at all fair that so much must ride on the people of Alabama voting to levy $1.2 billion in next taxes upon themselves. However, who ever said life was fair. Past leadership has placed the state in its current financial crisis – let’s not forget that.

It has nothing to do with Republicans and Democrats. Both sides have done a poor job of managing the state’s money – funding the tax payers of this state have given in good faith. Now, many of those same leaders who have failed to spend wisely are asking for more money and asking us to continue to have faith in them.

Under normal circumstances, there’s no way anyone in their right minds would give more money. Unfortunately, we aren’t facing normal situation. We are facing one which could cripple state government as well as public education in Alabama.

- The Clanton Advertiser