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GOP Irony: Smaller government until we don’t get our way

By Representative Darrio Melton

“More jobs. Less government.” -Governor Robert Bentley

“Less regulation and a smaller government is better…” – Rep. David Faulkner

We’ve heard these lines before, time and time again, from Republican candidates promising smaller government and more local control when they’re elected.  Despite the campaign promises, the same Republicans whistle a different tune when they’re the ones wielding the power in Montgomery.  “Less regulation and a smaller government” quickly becomes “enough regulations and a big enough government to have it my way.”

If you haven’t been following the latest debate in Montgomery, Rep. David Faulkner (R-Mountain Brook) is sponsoring a bill to prevent cities from setting their own minimum wages and labor standards.  Governor Bentley has promised to sign the bill into law when it reaches his desk.

Let me be clear: Rep. Faulkner is doing great work to reduce predatory lending and help lift communities out of poverty, but he is dead wrong on this issue.

While the City Council in Birmingham showed the leadership to take initiative and increase the minimum wage for Birmingham residents, our leadership in Montgomery is too chicken to even put the minimum wage up for a vote statewide.

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They can offer any number of reasons as to why big government is better, but the truth is the GOP screams like they’ve been set on fire every time Washington strikes down an Alabama law, yet the same lawmakers have no problem striking down municipal ordinances.  This bill contradicts every value the Republicans have ever run on, except one: profits over people.

Don’t be mistaken. That’s exactly what this is about: profits over people.

Alabama is one of only five states that doesn’t have a minimum wage law on the books.  There are some people who are perfectly happy with that, and some people who think we deserve better.

Regardless of where you stand, the higher governing authority should rest in one place: with the people, not Montgomery bureaucrats using government overreach. Let the people of Birmingham speak for themselves at the next city council elections, or let the people of Alabama speak for themselves in an an up or down vote on a statewide minimum wage.  No matter how you slice it, Rep. Faulkner’s bill is not what’s best for Alabama families.

Rep. Darrio Melton is a Democrat from Selma. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010 and currently serves as Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.


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