By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, September 14, conservative anti-tax groups rallied on the Capitol steps in Montgomery, urging legislators not to balance the budget on the backs of the working people of Alabama.
The event was organized by the Alabama Constitution Party and supported by the Tennessee Valley Constitutionalist Society, Constitution Clothing Company, Tea Party TIME Network, and the Alabama Conservative Group.
The President of the Alabama Republican Assembly Jennifer Montrose said, “The Republican Party has long stood as a strong opponent to higher taxes and bigger government. We were proud to support Governor Robert Bentley in his reelection campaign under his motto of “No New Taxes.” However, we stand here today regretting that decision. It seems he has forgotten this pledge to the voters. Recently, Governor Bentley presented a massive tax increase proposal to the public and to the Alabama State Legislature, for which he has begun to campaign across the State, using the same liberal rhetoric that we have seen from Washington DC for the past 7 years. Bentley’s recent prediction that two thirds of the State parks would close if his proposal does not pass is an example of this rhetoric. The leaders of our State park system themselves insist that they are 80-90 percent self-funded. If this is true, how can we see a two-thirds reduction under state budget cuts? This is the type of scare tactic that we have seen from the Democratic Party for decades. They use threats and grandstanding in order to expand government and increase the tax burden on the voters. The Alabama Republican Assembly urges the State legislature to stand firm on the platform in which they campaigned and oppose this unprecedented expansion of government.”
Alabama Foundation for Limited Government President former State Senator John Rice (R-Auburn) said, “Three years ago, we stood on these steps. The steps of Alabama History and told Alabama voters the legislature was trying to raid the Alabama Trust Fund to increase the size of government. Three years ago we were right. Alabama politicians took almost $500 million away from the state’s trust account while promising to pay it back. And now they say they cannot pay it back without raising your taxes.”
Former Sen. Rice said, “Now, three years later, these same politicians are trying to put $200 million a year in higher taxes on the backs of Alabama families and businesses-again, to keep the size of government growing. These same politicians promised to pay back the Alabama Trust Fund and they have not done so. These same politicians promised not to raise our taxes and to shrink state government. They have not done what they said they would do. They broke their promise on the Alabama Trust Fund, they broke their promise to shrink the size of government, and now they are breaking their promise not to raise taxes.”
The State chair of the Rainy Day Patriots and leader of the Alabama Legislative Watchdogs Ann Eubank said, “We elected a group of Democrats with Rs behind their names.” “When the Democrats are against raising taxes we have a problem in Alabama.” “Its in not just the legislature it is the Governor’s office.”
Eubank slammed the BCA the Real Estate Association, the association for the pharmacies, and the County Commissioners Association for lobbying for higher taxes.
Eubank said that legislators, “Need to stand tall with the people who sent you there.” “We no longer believe we are represented by the super majority that we elected.”
Eubank urged legislators to cut the size of state government 10 to 15 percent across the board. “The governor no longer represents Alabama, beliefs, values, and traditions.”
Organizers read a statement from Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan who urged legislators to stay true to Republican principles and not raise taxes. Chair Lathan wrote, “The Alabama Republican party applauds those who keep their promises.”
Former State Senator Scott Beason (R-Gardendale) said that voters, “Voted for a Republican supermajority on election day. We were promised we would have lower taxes, no new taxes, smaller government, family values and something that we can be proud of. The idea was to elect a governor and members of legislature who would do their jobs,” and they didn’t get it, that what upsets me about being here today.
Former Senator Beason said that as a member of the legislature he has had conversations with people in the legislature and they seemed to agree with me, but I was doing most of the talking and they were just nodding their head, I thought that meant they agreed with me; but now maybe they were thinking ‘Bless your heart, Scott, you really believe that stuff.”
Former Sen. Beason said, “There is more than enough money to deal with the issues that we have.”
Beason said, “It hurts me to think of all the years where I hoped that if we (Republicans) ever take over what we could do.” Instead, “We made George Wallace a true prophet: Apparently there is not a dime’s worth of difference between some of these Republicans and the Democrats.”
Establishment Republicans, led by Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Steve Clouse were able to cobble enough votes in the House to get their budget with $105 million in tax increases through the House.
This week the Senate will consider controversial proposals by the Alabama House of Representatives to raise taxes on nursing home beds, prescription drugs, cigarettes, car titles, car rentals/leases, etc. The House is still considering controversial proposals to raise taxes on fuel, businesses, porn, and businesses that are engaged in nude/topless dancing and massages, though none of those proposals were not in the budget that passed out of the House on Friday afternoon. Tea Party and conservative groups are opposed to new taxes and are holding a rally to voice their opposition on Monday.
To this point the Republican leadership has blocked a Sen. Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville) plan to go to a combined budget with a 78:22 split between Education and the General Fund; Democrat plans to expand Medicaid; and bipartisan efforts to pass a lottery.
Establishment Republicans, led by Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Steve Clouse were able to cobble enough votes in the House to get their budget with $105 million in tax increases through the House.