By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Gov. Robert Bentley says the State must raise taxes to meet its fiscal obligations, and he is being beaten like rented mule for even making the suggestion.
Now, no one should be happy that his campaign website featured an ad that, among other things, said “No New Taxes,” but Bentley is a Republican and saying that he was going to raises taxes a little would have meant that he only beat his Democratic opponent by 60 points.
That aside, they have yet to hear his proposal, but they are totally against it.
But this battle is not, let me repeat, is not over taxes. It is all about who will set the agenda and determine the future of our State. Will it be Robert Bentley or Speaker Mike Hubbard and the shadow government of former Gov. Bob Riley?
The State Legislature has only one constitutionally mandated responsibility: Pass a budget. For the last four years they have balanced the State’s budget (which is mandatory) by cutting or as they say “right-sizing government,” and by borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars from the Gas and Oil Trust Fund.
In reality what we have seen over the last four years is slash, burn and borrow, not fiscal sanity.
In the past, the State has relied on federal dollars and other tricks to balance the budget. But Bentley thinks the legislature should stop fooling itself and the citizens and fix the problem now, rather than at some magical time in the future. But this means Bentley is in charge and they can’t have Bentley in charge.
Bentley says, “It time to eat your vegetables,” but they would rather not. They would rather drink the Kool-Aid. It’s tastier and Hubbard has a large supply.
Anyway, careerist politicos do not want to have to tell their constituents that they realized the ship was sinking, and actually did something to repair the damage rather than pretending that the water is good for them. And if Grandma drowns, she was just a burden on the state.
Most politicians live in a kind of Never Never Land where they are free to do as they wish, because they are special. They are special because they have been elected to a high office. And because they are special, they think they have been endowed with a special wisdom.
Sadly, winning an election may make an individual think they have something that others do not, but the fact is votes don’t make one wiser.
According to Proverbs 29:11, “A fool utters all his mind: but a wise man keeps it in till afterwards.”
But too many of our legislators don’t have the patience for wisdom, they want to show toughness.
Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) has even used his campaign funds to buy a billboard to fight Bentley.
(Ignoring advice from Proverbs 29:11)
Here in Alabama, our politicos live in a Never Never Land where Captain Hook is the good guy and good ole Dr. Bentley should stick to shaking hands and hugging babies.
The Governor’s plan could be terrible, but no one knows, and yet the ALGOP passed a resolution against it. Is it actually possible to be against something even though you have no idea what it is?
Of course, taxes are part of the Panphobia of most Republicans, and rightfully so. But, to condemn something before it is even known is a little odd.
But then again, this is not about taxes…it’s about control.
Politics should be a contest of ideas played on a field of intellectual honesty. But it seems no one wants to engage in the conversation, much less be intellectually honest.
Bentley wants to raise some taxes to fix the holes.
He finally wants to lead.
Maybe we should give him the chance.