Letters to the Editor 10-25-2003

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

I'm still putting up regarding budget

Dear Editor:

This is another response to your editorial entitled "Put Up or Shut Up".

My other letter you printed on October 15th, primarily dealt with the Education Trust Fund Budget.

I will attempt to reveal some of the interesting projects forthcoming from the General Fund Budget.

This information is readily available at the internet website: budget.state.al.us/stgovfin.html.

Should you not have internet capabilities, contact a school student, they know, or at least the majority knows how to use the internet.

Our young people are being taught much more than most of us can imagine.

Some things they need to know and some things we can only wish they had never been exposed to in their young, formative years!

Anyhow, between state and federal funds, general fund spending in Alabama has increased from about $6 billion dollars in fiscal 1997 to a projected $9.5 billion in the fiscal year 2004. Or an increase of 58 percent in that short a period of time. The State of Alabama's population nor its income from its citizens has increased in proportion to government's spending.

Governor Riley indicated that he "got the message" after the severe trouncing of his Amendment 1 package by two out three voters on September 9.

He sent to the legislature a budget that completely wiped out spending of taxpayers' money on non-state agencies.

Rep. John Knight of Montgomery did not quite agree.

He introduced a flurry of bills, which endowed 20

of these non-state agencies monies NOT recommended by Gov. Riley.

These house bills passed the house, passed the senate and Gov. Riley has signed them into law.

Some of these non-state agencies that are recipients of general fund monies are listed below for your review:

The budget allocated $840,600 for the Alabama Network Child Advocacy.

Which certainly sounds very noble.

However, Covington County and 28 other counties do not have one of these advocacy centers. Or, 41% of the state's counties are NOT being served by this noble sounding organization.

How about the Coalition Against Domestic Violence program getting $503,583?

Most of you are familiar with the Opportunity House here that is funded by this legislation and they have received a drastic reduction in state funds.

Where are our Christian Church leaders/preachers?

Is it more important to build new structures or add to existing buildings to serve the congregation's needs or to provide an outreach structure to reach those who are abused?

Why is it not possible for the Christian community to fund an organization similar to Opportunity House with Christian love.

Abused wives and children is definitely an issue that should be met with Christian agape love.

Providing a safe haven is important and necessary, also guiding the abused to the path of salvation and eternity with God provides strength to endure and hope for a better tomorrow.

How about Montgomery Min Bus Center with $24,125?

I am sure there are a lot of people here in Covington County utilizing the bus service in Montgomery on a regular basis.

How about $46,465 to the Prevent Child Abuse? No one wants to see a child abused!

Again, where are our Christians? Why are we depending on State funds to care for abused children? If Christian churches can sponsor a foreign missionary to some faraway land, can they not also provide for missionaries here in their home county?

A total of $1,794,229 has been allocated by the State Legislature for these 20 organizations, none put forth in Governor Riley's budget for 2004.

However, there are many, many, more similar noble organizations that do not receive any part of their funding from the State of Alabama.

Notably missing are funds for heart disease research or cancer research: the two biggest disease killers of citizens in Alabama!

These two most worthy non-state agencies and many more depend strictly on the generosity of just plain ordinary citizens!

The United Fund includes these organizations each year with their charitable funding strictly from donations from the generosity of Alabama taxpayers, after they have paid their state-imposed taxes! Granted, funding is absolutely critical to any noble organization, but my contention is simple:

Don't spend taxpayer's money on a select few!

Funding for these twenty 20 organizations is very similar to the special funding of Education Trust Funds allocated by Sen. Hank Sanders and Sen.Penn; Rep. John Knight just couldn't let these non-state agencies do without some money from Alabama taxpayer's!

Thad Straughn