Governor slams down the gauntlet

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Governor Bob Riley has got to be the most optimistic person in Alabama.

With a serious, yet hopeful tone, he delivered a State of the State address Tuesday night that was strong on rhetoric and light on specifics.

We really can't fault him for that.

Entering what could surely be considered hostile territory Š with Senators Lowell Barron and Roger Bedford present, Riley went ahead with his call for accountability and an end to limitless pork projects.

Riley pressed ahead. Call it an "A" for effort.

The governor did impress us with his calls for accountability and optimistic solutions for balancing the budget and resolving the state's financial woes - without raising taxes on a broad-based level.

Through cuts in state spending, downsizing of state agency staffs, and limits on pet projects, Riley and his cabinet have succeeded in eliminating $400 million in excess from Alabama's operations.

That's a true accomplishment.

Now, Governor Riley is proposing another $300 million in reductions. A figure he says will allow the state to operate within its means; without raising taxes.

With that statement, we were reminded of the old saying, "You can only cut so deep before you hit the bone and bleed out." Is that what's going to happen?

Will Alabama cut too deep into the bone, only to bleed to death?

We don't think the governor is proposing that.

We simply want to make sure the governor, his administration, and the Legislature cut only the unnecessary things - not those things so critical to the daily health and welfare of Alabama's citizens.

We believe in the governor and his desire to help Alabama. We have faith in the fact that he, and some of the members of the Alabama Legislature want only what's best for our state.

However, we don't believe the Alabama Legislature, as a whole, will work with the governor and those who seek only to improve Alabama. Instead, the gauntlet will be tossed and the fight will be on.

And again, Alabama will become an example of how not to run a state government.

But, we're going to be optimistic - just like our governor.