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Posted: 7/24/2003 8:08:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/19/2003 9:11:47 AM EDT by HardShell]
Anyone here have a strong opinion one way or the other on this?

I, of course, do - but I want to know what y'all think before divulging my involvement & reasons...



SUBJECT edited one last time for simplicity's sake...
Link Posted: 7/24/2003 3:15:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/24/2003 3:20:58 PM EDT by Rick03a3]
Well Nick I really don't want to get anything started, especially a shouting match, but here goes anyway. Does that tell you how I feel about it?


I heard a guy saying the other day that Riley was actually a turncoat Democrat, and that he was out to ruin the Republican party in Alabama. Seems to be doing exactly that

Rick
Link Posted: 7/24/2003 4:37:44 PM EDT
Since this is a public board, I will simply say my 5 family members and 9 employees and their family members will vote NO.
Link Posted: 7/24/2003 4:41:37 PM EDT
I'm thinking of at least 10 NO votes including my family and neighbors.

Rick
Link Posted: 7/24/2003 5:13:57 PM EDT
i have taken the liberty of registering all the residents of the near by cemetary and they will be voting no as well.

Hey the Dems can do it why can't i?

All i can say is THANK GOD! i didn't vote for that idiot.

mike
Link Posted: 7/24/2003 5:38:03 PM EDT
I am a good Alabamian and will vote no at every polling place I vote!

Tony G
Link Posted: 7/24/2003 6:01:35 PM EDT
Mike you will have to forgive me for thinking that you did vote for the so & so.

Rick

Link Posted: 7/25/2003 7:15:05 AM EDT
nope i voted for

Sofaclues....
sophacleas.....

That guy running as a libertarian. Knew damn near nothing about him other than he wasn't riley or siegelman. I did a little research on riley and REALLY did not like what i saw.

mike
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 8:09:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2003 9:12:59 AM EDT by HardShell]
Just got back - surprised at the number of responses, but not the tone and consensus. I figured most, if not all, of you would be against it.

I am voting FOR it and encouraging everyone I can to do likewise, for several reasons:

(Before all the flaming commences, let me assure you that few are any more "Republican" or fiscally conservative than I am. I support this package only after much research, "inside-information," & soul-searching.)

1) I know Bob Riley and I like him - more importantly I TRUST him. He has assured me personally that this was his last resort and the only plan that could work and I believe him. Y'all very well may not - and that is absolutely your right.

2) I have studied the entire plan at length - both from personal interest and as part of my job. It is NOT a liberal, Democrat "tax & spend" tax increase - it is a thorough - and in my opinion fair - overhaul of the entire tax structure for the State of Alabama. Otherwise the fiscal conservative in me - put there by my father and his before him - could not allow me to support it.

3) The tax structure in Alabama is SHAMEFULLY regressive! This is not an opinion but a statement of fact which doesn't require a degree in Economics (which don't have) or an MBA (which I do) to understand. I am not for robbing the rich to give to the poor (Robin Hood I ain't!), but our current tax structure places an undue burden (compared to most if not all other states) on our poorest citizens. Conversely, we pay some of the lowest property taxes in the nation - low is good, but ours are ridiculous. Will the proposed package mean my family will pay more in taxes - yes. But the plan on the table does the most good with the least pain, IMO. MOST people will end up paying the same or less overall - that sounds counterintuitive, but not if you understand the implications of correcting a regressive tax structure.

4) I have yet to hear one of Riley's critics propose a better idea. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and complain, but difficult to solve the hard problems. And the problems are real - don't let anyone kid you (and PLEASE don't let them tell you it's just about Education!). Without this plan, necessary & important services provided by the State will be curtailed severely or cut. I'm not just talking about social/welfare-type programs - I am talking about the loss of common services that will be a real hardship on the public at large. If you think you won't be affected, I assure you that you are mistaken. Worse yet, the failure to pass this package will lead to more and more problems (the budget crisis is real and will not correct itself) which will almost surely lead to rewriting the Alabama Constitution under the stewardship of our Democrat-controlled State Legislature - THAT is something I can assure you that we do not want, for SO many reasons...

[On a much more personal level (and in the name of fair disclosure), this is bad for me - I am the Assistant Director of a State Agency. Our funding will be cut & I very well may be laid off (As AD my "position" will be safe, but I may be "bumped" by somebody in the same job classification with more seniority but no knowledge of my program or job duties - that stinks, but that's bureaucracy for you). So YES, I have a personal interest in seeing the Tax Package passed, but that is not my overwhelming motivation here - my wife makes good money, we have plenty in the bank to see us through, and I can make more in the private sector than I will ever make in State service.]

5) Finally, the political party issue: Anyone who thinks Riley is a RINO doesn't know him, his life story, or his record. I am a lifelong Republican because the Republican Party Platform represents my beliefs, ideals, and convictions. I have voted in every election for which I was eligible to cast a vote and have voted 100% Republican every time - and I am proud of that fact. Those of you know me and follow the political threads on this board know that I tirelessly defend the GOP and its officials - sometimes against the majority opinion (even here). My wife and I are very involved in Alabama politics. She currently works for an elected Republican Judge (who, by the way, is very much AGAINST the Tax Package). I am very saddened to see how this issue is splitting the GOP here in Alabama, just as we are FINALLY getting a foothold. I'm not that old, but I remember when a Republican couldn't get elected to a State office here. As fundamentally conservative as we are in Alabama, we only voted Republican in national elections. The residual effects of those years are still with us - our Democrat-controlled legislature is the most do-nothing State Legislature in the country. The problems we face here in Alabama are not due to who is - or was - in the Governor's office, but due to our SORRY legislators in the State House. As divided as the GOP is on this issue, if the package passes and works as intended it can be nothing but good for Alabama Republicans. The fact that Riley has gone out on such a dangerous political limb for what he believes is the good of the state is something, IMO, to be admired - not reason to call him a traitor. What I hope will come out of this is the realization on the part of Alabama's entrenched pseudo-Democrats - who are largely conservative & Christian but vote for Democrats locally because "my family always has" or "the Democrats saved the farms back in the day" - that Republicans care about working families and are not the evil, rich, uncaring robber-barons the media make us out to be. YES, it bothers me that I will be voting for a plan that (a) the Alabama GOP is split on, (b) the AEA & ASEA support, and (c) the Christian Coalition (at least in part) opposes. But I will support it and vote FOR it, and I hope & pray that time will prove I am doing the right thing.


I don't intend (or expect) to change the mind of anybody here & I'm sorry I have been so verbose, but this is very important and I just want you to understand that there is another side to this issue - and that other side is not necessarily a liberal, Democrat agenda.

Thanks for "listening."
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 10:58:23 AM EDT
Bob Riley is a jerk and a liar. Glad I too voted libertarian as I trusted some of the people from Ashland who know him. He promised accountability before any tax package and there is none that matters. Roger Bedford and Sanders will still spend our money. Schools will still be overstaffed and required seniors to pass the equivalent of an 8th grade test to graduate. Applicants for a teaching position will still be required to pass the equivalent of a 12th grade test because to require more is discriminatory. There will still be 8,000 cars for 23,000 state employees. ETC.

In last 30 years, Ala's student population has dropped 14%, from 850,157 in 1969-70 to 731,126 in 2000-01. Teachers have increased 42% from 33,728 to 47,901. Principals, etc. have increased 52% from 2,058 to 3,127. Spending has increased 1,149% without inflation, 180% inflation adjusted. Riley says our education system is broken and more money is needed. If money is the answer, why hasn't it worked in the last 30 years?. Instead test scores have gone down and students are taught at a lesser level. If we required students to graduate from high school with a 12th grade education and teachers to be able to pass a college graduation test, things would be better. Two Sundays ago, The B'ham News ran a very interesting chart. Wash., D.C. and N.J. topped school spending andUtah and S.Dak. were at the bottom, 1/3 of the top two. Guess which schools are rated the two worst and the two rated the two best? The News only showed the numbers but did not rate the schools because it would shoot a hole in the tax and spend theory.

I could cite many more examples. Gov't spending in Al., like B'ham and the Federal Gov't is a black hole and they never have enough. If this passes, my income will remain the same because I will fire one employee to make up the difference in my income. Many other small businessmen I've talked to will do the same.
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 11:20:15 AM EDT
alaman:

I sorry you have such a negative opinion of the man - my opinion is that you wasted your vote in the last election. We can just agree to disagree on these things.

But you sound just like the Democrats on this issue - "It's all about education." It IS NOT all about education - although I will agree that that is where most of the $$$ waste is. As I stated above, there will be catastrophic consequences statewide if this thing doesn't pass - believe me or not, your choice. You can try to eliminate waste in government all you want - I see a lot of it firsthand, believe me - but all the cost-cutting, reduction, and efficiency efforts in the world will not find the kind of money that will be necessary to keep Alabama afloat. (And for all of you fans of "The Don" out there, a lottery wouldn't have, either!) The books have been cooked too well and too long for anything "painless" to help. I hope and pray the measure passes so that none of you will not have to experience the reality of what I am saying. But I ABSOLUTELY understand the opposition to this package - that was my initial gut reaction too.
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 11:43:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/25/2003 12:15:33 PM EDT by ScaryGuy]
Montgomery Insider: "The answer to alllllllllllll our problems is (drumroll) MORE (of YOUR) MONEY!!!!!" ...Which none of the gnatdicked asswads in Montgomery has been able to manage which got us in this mess in the first place.

Sorry, but no. Giving the dipshits in Monkeytown more money to piss away is like giving an alcoholic a case of Scotch and then wondering why he went on a bender, or putting a child molester in charge of the day care at the local school.

In four years everyone that votes yes, should this plan pass, GOD FORBID, Will be wondering why we're still in the same boat we were in when they are proposing an even bigger tax increase than last time around, even though you have less money in your pocket than four years ago.

The Monkeytown administration has subscribed to that age old government definition of "Money Management": Take more from those that earned it. Helluva way to run a business, wouldn't you say? Nice when you don't have any accountability for how you redistribute the wealth, either. And the Guv can say what he will...There is NO real accountability in this package of overzealous governemntal theft that amounts to anything resembling accountability. Nothing. Zero. It's Montgomery business as usual.

Until they change that, No amount of anal violation by taxation is going to solve a damn thing, except to make me and my family poorer by several thousand dollars a year with no return on my involuntary investment.

I too have done the research.

I've listened enough spin from Gov. Riley that I'm surprised he isn't walking sideways to counteract the torque.

I've seen what his proposal does to those that earned the money.

I know how bad it's going to break it off in my ass and the ass of my family and of those families that work for me, with no appreciable benefits for us from the redistribution of our involuntary investment, and NO accountability whatsoever and I have come to this conclusion:

The only problem I have with my decision being the right one is that I doubt that there will be a place on the ballot for "HELL F*CKING NO".

I intend to take as many people down this path with me as I possibly can.

SG

PS: The above is not meant as a personal attack on you, Nick, but I am as opposed to this plan as you are for it. It's just too much on the wrong folks.

Link Posted: 7/25/2003 12:34:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ScaryGuy:
...
PS: The above is not meant as a personal attack on you, Nick, but I am as opposed to this plan as you are for it. It's just too much on the wrong folks.




No offense taken...

...but I do hope that you don't think ALL of us who work in "Monkeytown" for the State fit the description you gave above (YIKES!). I, for one, have always striven to be a faithful steward of the public dollar. And while I DO see a lot of waste in various agencies, I also see those which get by with minimal staff and tightened belts (my program falls into that category). Unfortunately, whenever "across-the-board" cuts occur in State gov't, the programs and administrators who have tried to do the right thing all along are hit the hardest, while the ones with padded budgets (cough - Education - cough) seem to skate right along.

And, like I said above, I certainly can understand the opposition. I respect my wife's Judge immensely - but I disagree strongly with her on this issue.

So, all of you who are dead-set against it, be sure and remember to get out and vote when it comes up in NOVEMBER!!!
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 1:22:06 PM EDT
The only way to control any government spending is to do what the only state, excluding Alaska which is a special case due to oil, Colorado has done. They passed a constitutional amendment a number of years ago that they cannot budget and spend more than was collected the prior fiscal year, increased by Fed. Res. inflation estimate for year plus % of population growth. Excess collected, after a small reserve, has to be returned to the people. Guess what, the state is booming, no spending problems, and residents get refunds.

The State of Al. will be back in the same boat in 5-10 years if the bill passes, and it will not, because there are no controls in place. I think it's a sign of desperation when they get Gene Stallings, who lives in Texas which has no income taxes, to endorse it. By the way, my wife is a state employee and I know her office well. There are 4-5 deadheads in her office that could be let go with no effect but will never happen due to civil service and minority problems.
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 1:22:07 PM EDT
I've been in Alabama 10 years. Here is what I've gleaned thus far in regard to this tax package.

1. State legislators are the source of the perpetual pork. The governor's chair may as well be empty without a line item veto (like Georgia). The legislature has no business controlling the budget.

2. The AEA is pure evil. The AEA and BC/BS of Alabama essentially control things in the state. The fact that the AEA supports this plan is enough for me to vote NO.

3. This regressive tax bugaboo is complete shit. Liberal drivel. Do we have low property tax -- hell yes. Do the states and municipalities tax everything else -- hell yes. Sales tax in my town is a freaking 9%. I will challenge anyone to say that I am not paying my fair share already! I will happily compile a list of all the BS taxes that are leavied on me. It's ridiculous. Want to increase my property tax? Fine. I'll go with that if you rescind voting rights for non property owners.

No insult intended, but I question the though processes of the original poster.

1. He works for the state
2. His wife essentially works for the state
3. He sides with the AEA
4. He has not named ANY of the "vital" services which will affect the state
5. Its way too easy to be claim fiscal conservatism when you have two income household and you have plenty of money in the bank

Link Posted: 7/25/2003 1:51:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By alaman:
The only way to control any government spending is to do what the only state, excluding Alaska which is a special case due to oil, Colorado has done. They passed a constitutional amendment a number of years ago that they cannot budget and spend more than was collected the prior fiscal year, increased by Fed. Res. inflation estimate for year plus % of population growth. Excess collected, after a small reserve, has to be returned to the people. Guess what, the state is booming, no spending problems, and residents get refunds.



Great idea! I'd support it. Unfortunately, our Dem-controlled Legislature will NEVER pass anything resembling that. And, unfortunately, if this plan fails many bad things will happen which are not Riley's fault but for which he will be blamed in the press and it will be THAT MUCH LONGER until we can get Bedford, et.al. out of office. BUT, I agree with you in principle 100%.


... I think it's a sign of desperation when they get Gene Stallings, who lives in Texas which has no income taxes, to endorse it.


You say desperation, I say shrewd marketing. The educated and informed don't decide elections in Alabama, in case you haven't noticed. (Sadly!)


By the way, my wife is a state employee and I know her office well. There are 4-5 deadheads in her office that could be let go with no effect but will never happen due to civil service and minority problems.


Been there, experienced it first hand, could write a book on it...
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 2:09:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/25/2003 2:15:35 PM EDT by NickFury]

Originally Posted By TWIRE:
I've been in Alabama 10 years. Here is what I've gleaned thus far in regard to this tax package.

1. State legislators are the source of the perpetual pork. The governor's chair may as well be empty without a line item veto (like Georgia). The legislature has no business controlling the budget.

2. The AEA is pure evil. The AEA and BC/BS of Alabama essentially control things in the state. The fact that the AEA supports this plan is enough for me to vote NO.

3. This regressive tax bugaboo is complete shit. Liberal drivel. Do we have low property tax -- hell yes. Do the states and municipalities tax everything else -- hell yes. Sales tax in my town is a freaking 9%. I will challenge anyone to say that I am not paying my fair share already! I will happily compile a list of all the BS taxes that are leavied on me. It's ridiculous. Want to increase my property tax? Fine. I'll go with that if you rescind voting rights for non property owners.

No insult intended, but I question the though processes of the original poster.

1. He works for the state
2. His wife essentially works for the state
3. He sides with the AEA
4. He has not named ANY of the "vital" services which will affect the state
5. Its way too easy to be claim fiscal conservatism when you have two income household and you have plenty of money in the bank




I've been in Alabama 37 years (my whole life), and I'd wager we would agree a lot more than we would disagree, on most subjects.

Your #1: I agree with you 100% - that is why we need to "clean out" the State House (see above).

Your #2: I agree 100% with your first sentence. I think your second sentence is VERY short-sighted, but you have every right to base your vote on that. (I hated the name of Montgomery's new Minor League Team - The Montgomery Biscuits - until I saw Hank Sanders on the news whining about how it was demeaning. I'm now the Biscuits' biggest supporter, so I'm not above being influence by "the friend of my enemy is my enemy, etc." thinking.)

Your #3: With all due respect, "regressive tax" is a well-defined concept of Economics -not a "bugaboo" (and I'm certainly no liberal!). Pick up any college Econ textbook and you'll see it defined. Who should carry how much of the tax burden in this state (and country) is certainly open to debate, but "regressive tax" isn't some made-up buzzword. And, as I'm sure you know, sales taxes are an increasingly inefficient way of collecting state revenue - due in largest part by ever-growing internet and catalog sales (for which the State of Alabama doesn't directly collect sales tax).

Question my thought process all you want - that's why I told you up front where I'm coming from (I sure didn't have to say I work for the state, like Riley, etc.). Yes, my own personal ox will get gored to a certain extent if this thing doesn't pass (which I also admitted above), but I still believe (based on information not necessarily available to the general public) that it is necessary. Hopefully there will be some official statements and press releases next week and I will be able to post some specifics on the services that will affect YOU directly without risking my own job any earlier than necessary.

edited to add:
Don't hold your breath waiting for me to apologize for having money in the bank - it is the result of hard work and fiscal responsibility while all around me were living beyond their means. Just because I can afford to pay more in taxes doesn't mean I want to...
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 2:19:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/25/2003 2:24:08 PM EDT by NickFury]
TO ALL WHO HAVE RESPONDED: No hard feelings guys! I knew when I started this mine would be the minority opinion. If circumstances were a little different I might be right there with you.

I'm about to leave town, but blast away at me and I'll get back to the thread sometime next week.

(Oh crap - did I just give you all a big, fat, juicy, motionless target to shoot at, or what???)
Link Posted: 7/25/2003 6:17:15 PM EDT
No hard feelings here! I appreciate you laying it on the line.

I DO want to know how it will affect me.

I will admit to hypersensitivity on the regressive tax issue. A recent statement by the Bishop of Birmingham and response letters in the Catholic newspaper have me in a lather anyway.

I do not think that it is short sighted to say that the AEA and BC/BS of Alabama are puppeteers for the legislature. Having spent my 10 years here in the medical field, I have felt the arm of BC/BS many times.

We're basically the same age. I don't want an apology for money in the bank. Hell, I'm very much into long term saving. I live a very conservative lifestyle as well. I just don't like the concept of turning over even more of my money to those buffoons in Montgomery. I have heard next to nothing about the "accountability" part of this tax package.

My jabs at you were mainly at the two income household. I'm so "backward" that I actually believe that the best place for a wife and mother is -- ta-dah -- home taking care of her family. She even home schools (her choice, not just mine)!

Anyway, I want to here more about the governor's plan. But frankly, he has been AWOL and I really doubt that he could change my mind.

I'm offline til Monday, have at it.

Link Posted: 7/26/2003 5:01:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/26/2003 5:02:32 AM EDT by CPerret]

Originally Posted By TWIRE:
Anyway, I want to here more about the governor's plan. But frankly, he has been AWOL and I really doubt that he could change my mind.



For TWIRE and others that want to learn more about the plan (including my wife and me),
I did a quick search to find the actual bill to read it straight from the horses mouth. Here's the link to the Special Election announcement on the State web site:
Information for September 9th Special Election

There is a link to the actual Act from the legislature on that page. It looks like the redlined version that comes out of a conference committee or something.

For commentary on the effects of the bill, try this one:
Birmingham Public Library Sept 9 Election Page

I chose the B'ham Library site as the info page, since it has links to organizations both for and against the new plan, so you can get input from both sides.

Now, to respond to the original post:
At this time, my wife and I are both against the plan. Why?
1) In a time of a supposed financial crisis, the plan proposes $600-700 MILLION in new spending.
2) The property tax equity issue. Here in HSV/Madison, we pay something like 56-58 mils of property tax, of which over 20 mils is sent out of our area to pay for education in counties that aren't willing to pay more than 3-6 mils of property tax to support themselves. And they had the NERVE to sue us to get court approval to steal our money!
3) No evidence of any attempt to actually cut spending in a meaningful and logical way. After taking into account the kickback that the Feds approved to send some of my Federal tax dollars back to the states, the shortfall in Alabama this year is on the order of $450 million. That represents approximately 2.5% of the state budget (roughly $20 billion). Do we honestly believe that they couldn't manage to find 2.5% in waste and/or unneeded funding to cut to get out of the "crisis"?

Remember, this "crisis" is caused by the idiots in the Legislature in Montgomery and the fact that we're in the third year of an economic slowdown reducing revenue. With most economic indicators pointing to an improved economic picture later this year or early next year, now is not the time to increase our taxes. That will just give them more money to waste as the economy improves.

Sorry for the length of this post.

Chris

Link Posted: 7/26/2003 6:37:56 AM EDT
3) No evidence of any attempt to actually cut spending in a meaningful and logical way. After taking into account the kickback that the Feds approved to send some of my Federal tax dollars back to the states, the shortfall in Alabama this year is on the order of $450 million. That represents approximately 2.5% of the state budget (roughly $20 billion). Do we honestly believe that they couldn't manage to find 2.5% in waste and/or unneeded funding to cut to get out of the "crisis"?

DING DING DING!!!

This is the #1 reason i am 100% against this tax bill. Until riley and the rest of those spend thrift idiots can live on a budget

NO MORE OF MY DAMNED MONEY!.

Yes MY money. I worked my ass of for it, it's mine. MINE MINE MINE MINE. They can't have it!!

The state of AL. generates plenty of revenue to provide state services. Get rid of the fat like every other business has had to do in a lean economy and then we can talk.

Case in point... Anyone been to the court house to get a tag lately? I hit the one on greensprings in bham last month. 11 yes 11 people hanging out behind the counter doing nothing but bullshitting while over 45 people in line had to deal with 6 people at the windows. 4 people as spanish interpreters so the damn illegals can get tags and drivers licenses for cars they do not have insurance on.

Hell theres a ton of MY money wasted right there. I placed a complaint call and as i guessed was completely blown off. Emailed Riley's office about looking into such things and didn't even get a form letter response.

I see the state purchasing millions in new computer systems that they frankly don't need <i have a tech in montgomery that installed a state system last year that is not in service because they don't know what system they want to use it for. <i work for IBM>. This was over 475k worth of MY MONEY pissed away.

SCREW the state. They don't need money, they need accountability and waste reduction. We need a govenor and legislature that is not afraid to write some pink slips.

mike
Link Posted: 7/26/2003 8:30:31 AM EDT
Go to the Alabama Policy Institute websight for a good analysis
Link Posted: 7/27/2003 4:40:09 AM EDT
In today's Decatur Daily, ALFA Insurance Co. states that around 24,000 jobs will be lost if this tax increase is approved. They also state that each insurance policy will go up by $18.00 or so. I have 3 policies with ALFA, do the math!

Right now if you have the oil changed in your car, you don't pay tax on the oil, nor on the labor to change it. Under Riley's plan, you'll pay on both. If you're a smoker, then you'll be paying a higher tax on your tobacco as well.

Rick

Link Posted: 7/27/2003 6:58:12 AM EDT
I am against the tax plan for a number of reasons.

1. Hubert Hoover raised taxes in a down economy, which only made it worse.

2. The deficit is not as big as proclaimed, as noted earlier, as CPerret pointed out.

3. I was present at a meeting of county elected officials a little over a week ago, where Gov Riley made a presentation. A prominent state-wide known democrat stood close by. I over heard him stating to one of his buddies that the deficit was down to a little over 100 million and that they knew what they were going to do to get to zero. He further stated that Riley could just not say no to Paul Hubbard.

This guy was a big Seigleman supporter and does not like Riley. I was shocked that he was against the plan because I know that he is a tax and spend kind of guy!

4. During the past year I have spent a great deal of time in monkey town attending state house and senate committee meetings as well as setting up in the public chambers watching legislation being debated and I can tell you that it is not a pretty sight.

I witnessed the Roger Bedford protection act being debated and passed. This act allows that if one aspect of government gives money to another and that money is "miss-spent", meaning not spent on previously approved acquisitions then there is no law broken. An example debated on the floor was a legislator gave discretionary funds to a local county agency to spend on the "industrial park", instead the money could be spent on office furniture or car or ..etc.. for that agency without any possibility of being charged for miss-use of state funds!

Just as a reminder we voted on the Rainy Day Trust Fund, gas taxes from the gulf and mobile bay, not too long ago. That item was supposed to get us by economic slow downs.

We have already seen the adds stating, "do it for the children". That is always the fall back position when they can not argue accountability.

How many 10's of millions can the Birmingham City School System not account for? Where is the accountability that has been talked about and in place for the last 30 years in government and education?

Bottom line, THEY do not NEED anymore of YOUR money OR MINE!
Link Posted: 7/27/2003 6:33:14 PM EDT
First of all, it appears that having one vote on what appears to be multiple amendments and laws is probably unconstitutional. That will throw a big monkey wrench in the cogs if the thing passes: the legislature will spend the money before it gets it (what it's doing now, as the "underfunding" is really overspending), then the tax increase may be thrown out.

Second, the so-called "accountability reforms" (re: education) will be challenged in court, some will be found unconstitutional or will never be enacted (for some school employees, "tenure" will never be removed).

While pass-through pork is banned (although the ban will not go into effect until after the next budget is passed), regular pork is not. more money for "leadership" programs in perry and dallas counties, which of course will pay fat salaries to hank sander's wife.

I don't support the tax, although I am a state employee, and personally stand to gain a raise of more than 10 times my increased tax liability, should the thing pass.

Just wondering, anyone else live in monkeytown?
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 7:56:04 AM EDT
WOW! I didn't realize what I was starting! But this has been a good thread - rational, intelligent debate (albeit one-sided) and a relative dearth of personal attacks (on me, anyway - our Governor didn't fare so well...).

The vehemence and unanimity of your posts did not surprise me - but they did give me pause. I don't usually dwell upon AR15.com threads when I am away from the computer, but this one gnawed at me all weekend while I was out of town. Y'all haven't changed my mind (any more than I've changed any of yours), but I've done even more soul-searching and can now admit (grudgingly) that:

1. IF I didn't know, like, and trust Bob Riley, and...

2. IF there wasn't a good chance I will be laid off when the Tax Proposal fails (I am now convinced it will NOT pass, BTW), and...

3. IF my being laid off didn't mean that my wife will have to continue to work, at least in the short run (we are expecting our first child in November and had planned for her to stop working outside of the house), then...


I PROBABLY WOULDN'T SUPPORT IT, EITHER!


I still stand by every argument I made above (I believe that this state and its people are in deep trouble if/when this fails) and I still will support it, vote for it, and pray that it passes, but - if I want to be completely honest - I will have to admit that I would NOT be the strong advocate for this measure that I am now if my personal situation were different (which is sort of what I said above, but with much more vacillation...). I most probably would support it and vote for it, but I wouldn't be as outspoken about it as I am now. And I NEVER would have started this thread! But I don't regret that - it has made me rethink my position, better-define my arguments, and generally keep a more open mind about the whole situation. And, after being in the majority on most (if not all) debates in which I've taken part on this website, I believe this was a good learning experience for me.

Thanks for keeping it civil, guys, even while disagreeing with me completely! This is a good place to be (and I may soon have a lot more time to spend here... ).


ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

It seems that we DO agree on one important issue - the problems in Montgomery are due to our HORRIBLE State Legislature. Whatever happens on the tax vote, I hope you will all join me in the future in trying to "retire" as much of the dead wood currently serving in the State House as possible! I would, of course, prefer all Republicans - but I would settle for anybody who is not a slave to the whims of Paul Hubbert, Mac McArthur, et. al.
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 8:12:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TWIRE:
...I do not think that it is short sighted to say that the AEA and BC/BS of Alabama are puppeteers for the legislature. Having spent my 10 years here in the medical field, I have felt the arm of BC/BS many times...



No, no, no - I AGREE with you about AEA, etc. What I was calling short-sighted was deciding how to vote on a measure JUST because of someone (or some organization) that you don't like supporting it. That would be like not supporting pro-gun legislation JUST because some liberal, anti-gun Democrat found it politically expedient to sign on as a co-sponsor. (Not what you were advocating - I see how we misunderstood each other.)


...My jabs at you were mainly at the two income household. I'm so "backward" that I actually believe that the best place for a wife and mother is -- ta-dah -- home taking care of her family. She even home schools (her choice, not just mine)!...


Not backward at all, AFAIC! I am envious of your situation and admire you and your wife for this sacrifice! Both of my wife's sisters are stay-at-home moms and home-school their children. As I said in my last post, we had planned on my wife staying home once "Junior" gets here - something we probably won't be able to manage if I get laid off (or stand a good chance of being laid of at any moment). The only reason we aren't planning to home-school is that we have one of the few good public schools left in the state (nation?) right down the road from us - we, of course, plan to "supplement" his education constantly and keep the local edu-crats on a very tight leash...
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 8:20:29 AM EDT
TBS: I think those folks in your county courthouse tag department are hired by/work for the county - not the state. You make a perfectly valid point, nonetheless. You'll NEVER hear me deny the waste in State Gov't (or any bureaucracy for that matter - it is the nature of the beast). What I'm saying is that the budget problem is well beyond fixing by "trimming fat." Based upon all the information available to me, even if we could magically eliminate ALL the waste overnight (which we can't), there would STILL be a budget crisis. That's my assessment - I don't really expect anyone here to agree with it.

FWIW, one of those pink slips you want them to hand out may well be coming my way - and I'm one of the GOOD GUYS...
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 8:24:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Rick03a3:
In today's Decatur Daily, ALFA Insurance Co. states that around 24,000 jobs will be lost if this tax increase is approved. They also state that each insurance policy will go up by $18.00 or so. I have 3 policies with ALFA, do the math!

Right now if you have the oil changed in your car, you don't pay tax on the oil, nor on the labor to change it. Under Riley's plan, you'll pay on both. If you're a smoker, then you'll be paying a higher tax on your tobacco as well.

Rick




I've got two homes, four vehicles, and some farm land insured with ALFA. I don't smoke, but I imagine its passage would cost me plenty...

...but like I said above, I am now convinced (based upon several things I learned this weekend) that it will not pass - so instead of higher insurance rates it will probably only cost me my job...
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 9:01:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/28/2003 9:07:52 AM EDT by ScaryGuy]

Originally Posted By NickFury:
Unfortunately, whenever "across-the-board" cuts occur in State gov't, the programs and administrators who have tried to do the right thing all along are hit the hardest, while the ones with padded budgets (cough - Education - cough) seem to skate right along.



You have just summed up the problem with the Guvs tax bill...this same bullshit will continue, as the plan

A.) Focuses on and pours money into areas where finances already resemble a floodgate, and whose , ahem, "managers" have shown a mind-numbing propensity to piss away voluminous quantities of money for nothing at all

AND

b.) Holds not ONE of the money slinging fiscal monkeys accountable for literally pissing away, for nothing, millions and millions of dollars.

Originally posted by Nick Fury:
so instead of higher insurance rates it will probably only cost me my job...


In spite of my vehement objection to this plan, I do really hope that doesn't happen to you Nick, you seem a pretty decent guy.

SG
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 9:06:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NickFury:
WOW! I didn't realize what I was starting! But this has been a good thread - rational, intelligent debate (albeit one-sided) and a relative dearth of personal attacks (on me, anyway - our Governor didn't fare so well...).

...
ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

It seems that we DO agree on one important issue - the problems in Montgomery are due to our HORRIBLE State Legislature. Whatever happens on the tax vote, I hope you will all join me in the future in trying to "retire" as much of the dead wood currently serving in the State House as possible! I would, of course, prefer all Republicans - but I would settle for anybody who is not a slave to the whims of Paul Hubbert, Mac McArthur, et. al.



Amen.
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 12:08:34 PM EDT
Nick, I do not want you or anyone to loose their job over this tax not passing!

I have worked both inside and outside of government. I have also been un-employed, which is NO FUN!

North Carolina is given as an example of a progressive state. When I moved there to accept a position, I found that my sons were covering the same material in school that they have covered the preceding year here in Alabama. We found that taxes on personal property were horribly high! I lived in Guilford County, Greensboro. I paid $468 dollars for a tag and then received a property tax bill from the local school district for my car 90 days later for the same amount of money! This is times the 4 vehicles that we owned.

There are other aspects to the North Carolina adventure that just made coming back home to Alabama a no brainer for our family!

I believe that we have such a low level of expectations for our local elected officials, this includes our state representatives and senators, that we screw ourselves. We have got to get our fellow voters to hold our representatives responsible for their actions!

I want things to change here, I just don't believe that this is the only way to do it!
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 1:13:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/28/2003 1:16:19 PM EDT by The_Beer_Slayer]
nick

i hate to see anyone lose a job. especially a brother in arms. Having said that, The State is WAY heavy with employees. especially in the education department.

Anyone entering a job with a government agency knows that they are employed at the whim of the tax payers and could be gone if department funding is cut.

I have watched my company go from 26 techs in birmingham to 8. With almost no reduction in workload. As company profits decline, dead wood is turned loose. Why should the state be any different. Tax revenue declines due to a sluggish economy and the states answer is to raise taxes to fund programs that were started when the state had surplus money.

Time to trim the fat and drop the dead weight from the state. Not saying that is you but even you have to admit at least 5% of each department could go.

mike
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 2:20:50 PM EDT
TBS: Yes, I agree with you. Even as pared down as we have become in the past few years (my department is not nearly as fat and healthy as DOE), we could probably get by with a 5% cut - I wish that was all we were facing. My department (and many others) are looking at a 20% cut if the tax package does not pass - the plans have already been drafted and discussed with the State Finance Director. Even the State of Alabama is not THAT employee-heavy! Vital services will be cut and/or slowed to a crawl. But, as I said earlier, I am now convinced that it will not pass and can only pray that the "axe" will somehow miss me.

As for State Employees "knowing that they serve at the whim of tax payers" - that couldn't be further from the truth. Maybe they SHOULD know, but most don't. "Job security" (or at least the appearance of such) assured by the State Merit System is one of the two "perks" (the other being excellent benefits) that we use to recruit employees to State service in spite of the fact the salaries are not commensurate with private-sector jobs. That illusion of job security fades with time and experience, but "long-timers" like me stay for the excellent benefits, flexible time off, and/or the great retirement system. I survived one round of lay-offs early in my State career, so the illusion faded faster for me than most - the coming one promises to be much worse and will disillusion the current generation of State Employees.
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 3:17:59 PM EDT
please decribe exactly what Vital services entail?

mike
Link Posted: 7/28/2003 4:41:27 PM EDT
The major

problem is in education. B'ham got millions from the state for phantom students. Found out by state and laid off 600 deadheads last year. State just passed law to rehire all while B'ham just closed 9 schools. Al. has 2-3 times as many junior colleges/technical schools than needed. Only 51% of education money goes to classroom, rest to overhead.

Sell all private planes and fly commercial like the rest of us. Sell all 8,000 state cars (only 23,000 state employees-1 car for every 3 ees) except for police and a few other needed areas. My wife works for the state and has to use her car, gets mileage, even though she puts about 20,000 miles per year on it while deadheads drive state cars to work and back.

Settle highway law suit and save millions in legal fees and then sue lawyers and any state employees responsible for wasting millions on the suit. 3000 state employees go to meeting to hear about tax increase and we can afford that? The examples could go on and on.
Link Posted: 7/29/2003 5:58:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
please decribe exactly what Vital services entail?

mike



Mike,

I'm not trying to be difficult, but until the folks WAY above my pay grade make that information available to the public I can't go into details. I may lose my job anyway, but I don't want to throw it away! I'm pretty far down the food chain - please understand.

You can use common sense and anticipate some of it, based upon whatever dealings you may have with State Government now. Some of what will be cut you (most of you) will say good riddance to; some of it will affect only a small segment of the public; some of it will affect everybody. It doesn't much matter for the purposes of this discussion - everyone here has made it clear that they believe the problems can be solved WITHOUT the Tax Package & a laundry list of programs and services that will be eliminated, reduced, or slowed is not going to change anybody's mind.

Richard
Link Posted: 7/29/2003 6:08:17 AM EDT
alaman:

Yes, the major problem is Education. The biggest part of that problem, IMO, is that the local school boards and administrators have very little control - the big decisions are made by some edu-crat in Montgomery (or in Washington, DC!). We spend a lot of education $$$ on those "big-decision-makers."

And, FWIW, I would prefer to drive my own car and get reimbursed for mileage when I travel on State business - THEY won't let me. Unless I am travelling a very short distance or the Motor Pool is completely out of cars, I am required to check a car out of the Motor Pool (or travel at my own expense).
Link Posted: 7/29/2003 11:27:43 AM EDT
No government will ever have enough. It's time to draw the line in the sand and say no more. Be like my business, run efficiently or get out of all but the basic necessities. The feds, counting both sides of S.S. and their other taxes get about 50% of my income. Alabama gets probably 8%. Jefferson County gets about 3%. That's 61%, give or take a couple of percent. The Dam-ocrats at the national level want more because they say I don't pay enough, it's for the children, I have been successful because the sun shined on me, and I am evil for not wanting to pay more.

Jefferson County has introduced bills to get more for busses people won't use, a domed stadium that will be a white elephant full of political payoffs (remember the dog track), to spend $93 million on improving a hospital with 115 beds when local hospitals are begging for patients, and to pay the billions we taxpayers got ripped off on the sewer fiasco.

Riley wants more and it's for the children( guess it's takes a village). I just finished putting 4 kids thru college and now I'm supposed to spend the rest of my life putting somebody else's through? My kids are supposed to pay taxes their whole life putting somebody's kids thru college and hope their kids qualify instead of saving the money themselves? I worked my way through through grad school and today's kids can to.

In 5 years, the state will be back in the same boat if this ripoff passes because Hubbert, Bedford, Sanders, etal will have spent it all as they are nothing but hogs at a trough. Then they will come back and say we need more for the children.

61% or so is enough.
Link Posted: 7/31/2003 1:58:30 AM EDT
I saw a commerical yesterday for the Tax Hike which stated that for 85% of the taxpayers, their total tax bill would be going down by as much as $600.00 per taxpayer.

I would like for someone to explain just how when taxes will be increasing on most everything, except for the air we breath, and some things are to be taxed that currently have no tax at all on them such as Oil and Labor, just how am I suppose to believe that my taxes will actually go down while the State's total tax bill is going up by the 1.2 Billion?

If 85% of the taxpayers won't be paying the tax, do they mean to tell me that the remaining 15% will not only pay all the new taxes but will also make up for what the other 85% won't be paying? Come on, I'm not all that smart but I wasn't born yesterday! If you believe that you won't pay more, then I have a nice piece of mountain top land in Florida I need to sell you!

Read my lips, No More Taxes!

Rick
Link Posted: 7/31/2003 6:04:08 AM EDT
Yeah right, 15% of taxpayers are going to pay over $1.2 billion in new taxes. Said in an earlier post our governor was a liar. Notice two of his original cabinet members have resigned and are fighting it. Wallace Malone of Southtrust has said it's too much and will cost 30,000 jobs. If you make less than $17,000, your home is valued under $60,000, you do not smoke (I don't), you don't buy a car or have it worked on or oil changed, don't use electricity, etc., your taxes will go down. Everybody elses will go up.
Link Posted: 7/31/2003 6:14:11 AM EDT
i got the phone call from the survey last night.

After telling her no 3 times she finally decided i was in fact a no vote. I also told her that due to this tax package from riley i will make damn sure i will NOT vote for him on the next election. He has confirmed my reason for not voting for him on the last one.

mike
Link Posted: 7/31/2003 5:18:00 PM EDT
A tax increase is a tax increase be it from a Democrat or a Republican. And I will never vote for one. I live 15 min south of Huntsville, got a couple of good places to shoot and spend a lot of time in the woods and on the river. Let me know if you wanr to get together.
rk
Link Posted: 8/1/2003 2:13:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
i got the phone call from the survey last night.

After telling her no 3 times she finally decided i was in fact a no vote. I also told her that due to this tax package from riley i will make damn sure i will NOT vote for him on the next election. He has confirmed my reason for not voting for him on the last one.

mike



Mike, Jeanie took a phone call on a survey (in favor of the tax) yesterday and one of the questions the interviewer asked was "If I can promise you that your power bill won't increase, will you vote in for the tax?" (or words to that effect) She asked him just what the power bill had to do with it and he was unable to answer her question.

Rick

Link Posted: 8/1/2003 7:27:22 AM EDT

I would like for someone to explain just how when taxes will be increasing on most everything, except for the air we breath, and some things are to be taxed that currently have no tax at all on them such as Oil and Labor, just how am I suppose to believe that my taxes will actually go down while the State's total tax bill is going up by the 1.2 Billion?

Rick



That's easy.

Politicians are Liars who are full of Weapons-Grade Horseshit, but think you and I are too stupid to figure that out.

Either that or they had someone from the AEA do their arithmetic.

Reg
Link Posted: 8/1/2003 7:30:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
i got the phone call from the survey last night.

After telling her no 3 times she finally decided i was in fact a no vote. I also told her that due to this tax package from riley i will make damn sure i will NOT vote for him on the next election. He has confirmed my reason for not voting for him on the last one.

mike



I got that survey about a week ago. I think I almost had the volunteer on the line in tears by the time I got through giving it to her with both barrels. I prolly shouldn't have doneit, and I started out polite but firm, but as the horseshit got deeper and she got more insistent I got pissed off and unloaded on her. It weren't purty...

SG
Link Posted: 8/1/2003 11:06:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/1/2003 11:07:22 AM EDT by Rick03a3]
Folks, it's getting scary. Now I'm hearing ads on the radio actually calling it a tax reduction!

Rick
Link Posted: 8/1/2003 12:33:28 PM EDT
The Socialists and Communists know if you tell enough lies, most people will begin to believe them. Riley spent time in D.C. and learned to lie. The AEA members are so used to not teaching the truth they don't know it when they hear or see it. A tax increase is not a tax increase per Riley and the AEA and they will convince some people of that. The liars are even taking into the federal tax cuts when telling people their taxes won't go up because the state's will be offset by the fed. cut. "We're here from the government and are here to help you".
Link Posted: 8/4/2003 4:00:24 PM EDT
i got the survey call last week also.

I voted hell no, no way, not gonna do it.

The girl on the phone seemed perplexed that i wasn't jumping up and down in favor of it.

mike
Link Posted: 8/5/2003 1:57:03 PM EDT
An ad I heard today was urging folks to vote 'YES' for a tax cut! Same lies we keep hearing about taxes going down instead of up.

I'm still in favor of a recall election!

Rick
Link Posted: 8/7/2003 3:18:38 AM EDT
In general, I don't trust politicians. I trusted Bob Riley enough to vote for him, and now it seems he's stabbed me in the back. I don't vote for tax increases, period. I've heard all the excuses, but I don't buy them. Time and time again, politicians promise the if we just vote for their tax increase, everything will be alright. It NEVER HAPPENS! Just a year and a half ago, a local sales tax increase went through here in Mobile to aid the schools. Now they're talking about not having enough money again. It never ends and I for one am tired of it. They need to figure out how to run things with what they have.


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