State could fix its budget problems

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dear Editor,

Alabama is facing its most serious set of challenges in a generation, and this is no time for the usual partisan grandstanding on either side of the political divide.

State government is broken in fundamental ways, and while Gov. Bob Riley is right to propose ethics laws, we should go much further.

Alabama should ban lobbyists from making gifts to elected or appointed officials. We should cap campaign contributions and end the practice of a few powerbrokers single-handedly funding campaigns. And we should stop legislators from using their public discretionary funds for the benefit of the institutions that pay their salary.

We can fix the budget this year, and we can fix it next year and the year after that. Or we can fix the process that broke it and watch Alabama thrive.

Renee Stevens