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Opinion | Financial literacy

Our officials should use the end of Financial Literacy Month as the beginning of a challenge to save our citizens and our state even more money.

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We’ve just completed the month designated by U.S. Lawmakers as Financial Literacy Month. It would appear many of them aren’t financially literate and it shows. But we are fortunate here in Alabama to have government leaders who are.

Alabama just passed historic budgets, and our state has the lowest unemployment rates ever. Financially speaking, things are going well right now – better than at any other time in our state’s history.

While there is always room for improvement, Alabama hascome a long way, and there are many people to thank for their leadership in getting the state to this point. Gov. Kay Ivey;Finance Director Bill Poole; State Treasurer Young Boozer; Sen. Arthur Orr, chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee; Sen. Greg Albritton; chairman of theSenate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee; Rep. Danny Garrett, chairman of the House Ways and Means Education Budget Committee; and Rep. Steve Clouse, chairman of the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee. These leaders are all fiscal conservatives and have worked hard to get Alabama on financially sound footing.

So how can the state become more fiscally responsible? By saving more than it spends.

Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s just money savings 101. Taking care of what the state owns is another way to save money by using resources it has at its disposal instead of always reaching for the newest, biggest, brightest toys.

I’ve often promoted that the state should invest in buying used cars versus new cars as a money savings measure but have always been shot down on the idea. Either way, we don’t need fully loaded SUVs for government employees to drive across the state.

Utilizing technology to conduct virtual training and meetings is another way the state can save dollars. State government leaders can stop paying celebrities $50,000 each to make public service announcements on behalf of Alabama, and it can start putting annual reports online instead of printing them and mailing them out by the thousands. This may sound like trivial things but believe me I’ve seen it firsthand – it’s astronomically expensive!

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So, while Alabama is doing well at the present time financially speaking as a state, our officials should use the end of Financial Literacy Month as the beginning of a challenge to save our citizens and our state even more money. It’s a sure bet you won’t hear one citizen complain about it at all.

Beth Chapman is the former Alabama state auditor and 51st secretary of state. She now owns and operates Beth Chapman & Associates LLC. She can be reached at [email protected]

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