Look at all sides

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Sometimes it is hard to make a decision without conferring with those of like mind. With the vote on Amendment 1 facing us in less than a week, we turn from one side to the other, diverted by exaggeration, confused by deceptive advertising, and outright lied to by those for and against. Every voter, every tax payer, needs to make his or her own decision, but it can help sometimes to know what other groups are thinking about the issue.

For instance, we know that ALFA, which represents farmers and the lumber industry, is opposed to the plan, as are many other respectable organizations for well-considered reasons. But who, besides teachers and social workers, is for it? Here's a list provided by A Better Alabama: The Christian Coalition of America, the Alabama Baptist Convention, the Alabama West-Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, Sheppards and Lapsley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church USA, Priests' Council of the Birmingham and Mobile Dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church, the Silver-Haired Legislature (an organization representing senior citizens), African-American Farmers Association, Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Alabama Association of REALTORS, Alabama Chapter March of Dimes, Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club, Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Alabama Environmental Council, Alabama Historic Ironworks Commission. Alabama Hospital Association, Alabama Latin American Association, Alabama Network of Children's Advocacy Centers, Alabama Poverty Project, Alabama Retail Association, Alabama Soft Drink Association, Alabama State Nurses Association, Alabama State Trooper Association,

Alabama Watch, Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama, Business Council of Alabama, Citizens for Responsible Government, Faith in Action Outreach Ministries,

and the League of Women Voters of Alabama.

This is only a fraction of their list of supporters for Governor Riley's tax and reform plan. It is a staggering list in that it encompasses at least one group from almost every facet of our society - even farmers. Rich and poor, left and right, business and social services, Republican and Democrat - all are represented in some way by that list, which doesn't even include all of the dozens of child welfare, education, judicial and law enforcement groups that have also voiced support.

We certainly do not recommend that you make your vote based strictly on how your peers are voting. One of the problems in this country is partisan politics and party-line voting, instead of making the right choice for the right reason. But each of these groups have their own reasons for supporting the plan and many of them are posted on their own websites as well as the "A Better Alabama" site. Visit these, and visit the Tax Accountability Coalition site, too. Somewhere between propaganda lies the truth - and your decision.