Put up or shut up

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

"It's easier to build a child than to rebuild a man," said Connie Floyd Monday night during a candlelight vigil to bring to light the plight of state-assisted child care in Alabama.

Those words are so true.

Child care is just one of the many worthy causes that will be affected by drastic cuts in Alabama's budget.

Other cuts are being made to educational systems statewide.

"We are estimated to lose around $230,000 in funding. Books that we would order next spring for the coming school year are not funded, so we have to explore our options," said Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Pete Kelley, at the funding situation facing our local school system.

The Alabama Department of Public Safety is urging travelers to start carrying with them some "necessary" items in case of an emergency because they may not be able to get to them in for a few hours due to reduced ranks and the lack of funds to increase them.

These are just three of numerous areas that are being cut by the state in order to balance the budget.

We all should be furious that our safety will be comprised on Alabama's roadways, our children's education will start to suffer even more, and more people will begin applying for welfare because they can't afford child care.

But, sadly, not all people are worried about the state of affairs in Alabama. At least not now.

Dick Armey, co-chair of the Citizens for a Sound Economy and his group are praising Alabama Governor Bob Riley for such drastic cuts.

"It's great to see Alabama pass a budget that does not raise taxes," Armey said in a CSE statement.

What does Dick Armey know? What business does he have in Alabama anyway?

This wasn't his fight, yet he continues to chime in on the subject.

We're quite sure he can afford to pay for private school for his children if it were necessary. We're sure he can afford to pay for child care if it was needed, and we're sure that he doesn't worry about driving along the roadways of Alabama because he typically has an escort.

But, he weighed in and we're fighting back.

No, we didn't want taxes raised, but we saw no other alternative if we were to maintain at least the status quo - and to be honest, the status quo wasn't very high.

Now, with the budget cuts starting to hit home, we certainly hope someone will step up to the plate and try to help fill the void. It's time for all those who opposed so strongly the governor's efforts to reform Alabama and get the state back on track put their money where they mouth is. Don't say you're "willing to work with the governor to resolve this matter" unless you really mean it. Because we don't believe you.

We suggest you send your tax return to the state or actually pay your fair share of taxes instead of seeking out loop holes. We suggest Dick Armey takes a ride up Hwy. 43 out of Mobile through West Alabama and get a flat tire. Let him worry about the assistance of a state trooper when one's not available, have poor cellular phone coverage and hope he has enough batteries for his flashlight and enough blankets to keep warm.