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Constitutional Amendment – Sept. 18, 2012,Shake your head, scratch, but VOTE!!!

By Rep. Allan Farley                                                

Why do people joke about politicians?  Really, why?  That’s easy, it’s because most politicians are cut out of the same piece of cloth.  It’s as smooth as fine silk.  However, once you buy that silk shirt, it may itch.  Too late.  For four years you have to just shake your head, joke, scratch, and wear it.  

On September 18th the “Alabama State Legislature “is asking “you” for permission to take $437 million out of “your” savings account.  That makes me itch.   (Sorry, I know that’s a switch).

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.  We’ve all heard that saying.  In state politics that saying sometimes takes a unique twist.  Our state budget is in a mess.  We’ve cut a lot of the obvious fat.  But, now we need to look at some tough decisions on further budget cuts.  Cuts that touch areas we normally don’t talk about.  So, don’t talk about it.  Let’s get the voters to vote to raid their own savings account.  That way, you really won’t know who makes you itch until after the 2014 elections.  (SMOOTH AS SILK)!!! 

LET’S TALK:  The 2010 elections gave Republicans a “super majority” in the Alabama Legislature for the first time in 136 years.  (That is control over both the House and the Senate).  Our leadership quickly started the process to right-size Alabama government.  We started with an immediate Special Session where we addressed Ethics Reform.  (We were wearing our work clothes then. No silk).  

I believe a large number of our members have started looking at their calendar and not at our job.  Our job is to make Alabama better than it has ever been.  (If we were talking about Alabama, or Auburn, football we wouldn’t have a problem with making cuts to maintain a winning team).  But, things change in politics when a politician starts thinking more about keeping his job rather than you keeping yours.  (Yes, I said it. And, no, I don’t drink). 

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 Here are some sobering facts:  Medicaid and Corrections currently consume 55% of the General Fund budget and that percentage is growing with each fiscal year.  Between 1980 and 2008, inflation-adjusted Medicaid spending in Alabama increased at an average of 14.6% per year.  This rate of growth is simply unsustainable and without a long-term solution even the money provided by this CA will be insufficient.  

Medicaid fraud is running rampant.  But, with elections just 2 years away, what politician in his right mind wants to be “accused” of taking money away from the poor and the elderly? 

Alabama Prisons are at 200% inmate capacity with 55% staffing.  But, with elections just 2 years away, what politician in his right mind wants to be “accused” of redirecting first time non-violent offenders to drug and alcohol rehab instead of locking them up in a state prison?

The Governor and the Legislature have identified, but not yet implemented, many cost-saving measures.  Although many of these measures would need to be implemented over the next few years, some savings are available for FY2013.  

The ATF Board of Trustees has the latitude to offer the state a short-term loan that would be paid back with interest and would have no net long-term affect on the ATF principle.  This would provide the time to enact cost saving reforms without the adverse effects of the CA.

In a recent Alabama Political Reporter column entitled “The decision is yours but consider the facts and vote” Senator Dick Brewbaker wrote:  

“So, how should you vote?  It depends on your view of your elected leadership.  If you believe that the Governor and the Legislature are sincere when they say they need time to insure orderly reform, and that they are committed to pass such reform, by all means vote “yes”.  If, on the other hand, you think what this is really all about is a bunch of politicians trying to get themselves off the hook for three years so they can put all this off until after the next election, vote “no”.”

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“This is a big deal.  Whatever you decide, go vote.  This is not one the citizens can afford to sit out. “

Going to my Bible, the words of Paul in the book of 1st Corinthians speaks very clearly.  1 Cor 4:2 – Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

God Bless America!!!

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