By State Auditor Jim Zeigler
President Donald Trump is rapidly moving to release one trillion dollars to the states to refurbish aging infrastructure. There will be some competition. The states must submit proposals. The plans for how to spend the money are up to each state to devise, subject to light approval by the Trump administration.
Please, please some Alabama leader other than Gov. Robert Bentley step forward as the contact for Alabama’s share.
Bentley administrators have not been good stewards of the resources they have already handled. No reason to think they would suddenly become good stewards of another couple of billion from the Trump infrastructure program. Why start now?
Gov. Bentley would not endorse Trump and did not vote for him. Bentley supported Ohio Governor John Kasich for President, which indicates just how far Bentley is from reality.
Gov. Bentley has scandals enough now. You don’t hand a couple of billion over to a governor who is under serious clouds.
Bentley has a track record of manipulating things so his supporters get something out of it.
Bentley does not spend resources in the best interest of the people of Alabama but in the best interest of himself and his advisers.
If Bentley gets control of an extra billion or three, you can expect that he will use it to wheel and deal for things he wants. It isn’t just money, it’s also power. Power in Bentley’s hands is dangerous.
So who could be Alabama’s conduit for the Trump infrastructure billions? The answer is – whomever the Trump administration would chose to listen to and go through. Here are some possibilities that would be better than your tarnished governor:
New House Speaker Mac McCutcheon
Sen. Richard Shelby
Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan
State Auditor Jim Zeigler
The Alabama Congressional delegation
State Treasurer Young Boozer
The Chairman of the Alabama Board of Adjustment
Any one of these would not have the clouds hanging above that Gov. Bentley has. None of these has a track record of steering money to their buddies and girlfriends.
All on this list have more common sense, common decency, and more in common with the people of Alabama than the governor we mistakenly elected and appear to be stuck with for two more years – just long enough to blow those extra billions.
Jim Zeigler has been the State Auditor since January, 2015.