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“Elected Officials Must Be Good Stewards”

By Representative Allen Farley

I think it’s a great time to talk about reining in spending and contrasting the responsible, conservative Alabama Republicans with the tax-and-spend liberals in Washington.

Alabama is governing responsibly for a change.  We’re living within our means. Consider this:  Through cuts and efficiency measures, we have saved taxpayers more than $650 million and are on track to make that $1 billion in annual savings.  That’s serious money.  How did we get there?

$181.5 million from the 2011 Pension Reform Measures.

$164.1 million from this year’s Pension Reform plan.

$181.3 million from right-sizing our state employee workforce.

$61.3 million from reining in public employee insurance benefit costs.

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$58.5 million from repealing DROP, the costly luxury retirement plan for state employees.

$19.4 million from an overhaul of how our state compensates attorneys for indigent defense.

$8.3 million from refinancing various bonds to reduce our debt load.

As you can imagine, trimming the fat in government oftentimes doesn’t sit well with the entrenched bureaucracy.  It’s difficult and it takes commitment.  But, that’s our job.

It is our constant duty to ensure state government is operating as efficiently as possible and the taxpayers are getting their money’s worth.  We must examine every dime of state spending, set priorities and, “like every Alabama business and family”, make the government live within its means.  Alabamians can be proud of the conservative state leaders they’ve elected, and the fiscally responsible course we are charting for this state.  We aren’t just imposing cuts on everybody else.  We are looking at cuts and consolidations within the Legislative Branch that can save taxpayer money and end needless duplication.  In the House we’ve reassigned employees so that more can be accomplished with the existing staff.  We’ve launched a new focus on constituent services, but instead of hiring new employees and costing taxpayers money, we’re utilizing existing employees and making the entire operation more efficient.

I wish our mindset was shared by Washington.  It seems like every week we learn of another job-killing tax being pushed by President Obama and the liberals.  The contrast could not be clearer:

We’re tightening our belts and reducing our costs while President Obama and tax-and-spend liberals have piled on $6 trillion in debt.

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We’re trying to incentivize business and create jobs, and President Obama is mandating “job-killing” federal regulations.

We are trying to reform government and rein in wasteful spending, and President Obama is forcing a shocking expansion of government in “ObamaCare” that will require higher taxes on businesses and families.

As much progress as we are beginning to make in recovering from the recession, it doesn’t make things any easier when our President is playing election year politics with the economy.  It is becoming more and more evident that the Alabama Legislature is the last line of defense between Alabama taxpayers and the federal government.

Despite what comes out of Washington, Alabamians can rest assured that we’ll keep working to find efficiencies and keep Alabama taxes low so our state can remain a great place to live and do business.

In the book of Matthew there is a story of three individuals who were entrusted with different amounts of money. (The Bible refers to the money as “talents”).  Two invested the land owner’s money well, and each had a profit to show when the land owner returned.  However, one decided to bury the money.  That individual was dealt with harshly.  We, as American citizens, have been entrusted by our God with HIS creations.  We must be good stewards and be ready to show a good return.  And, as elected officials of the people, we have been entrusted with great responsibility of making sure that occurs.

Luke 12:48,  “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded;  and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked”.

May God Bless America!!!

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