September 07, 2003

Bama at the Bottom

The following editorial from Thursday's Montgomery Advertiser helps explain why I am for the tax package, and why our state slogan can't be "Be Like Bama!":

[T]he Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., took a different tack. An editorial used Alabama as a case in point of how far some national anti-tax groups will go in opposing taxes.

The newspaper wrote: "Ever wonder how far anti-tax groups such as Americans for Tax Reform, the American Conservative Union and the National Taxpayers Union would let a state slip before they'd agree to a tax hike? Well, look at Alabama and you'll get your answer.

"Alabama currently spends less per child on education than any state in the nation. It has 28,000 prisoners squeezed into prisons designed for 12,000.... Some nights thousands of miles of roadway are monitored by a half-dozen (state police) officers. It has a tax structure that ... imposes an effective tax rate of 3 percent on Alabama's wealthiest citizens and 12 percent on its poorest residents. A family of four subsisting on $4,600 a year has to pay income taxes, but out-of-state timber companies get by paying only $1.25 an acre in property taxes."

The editorial goes on to lament that, despite the state's problems, these national anti-tax groups are opposing the tax increase here anyway.

"For them, the Alabama experience suggests, there is no bottom line, no point at which shoddy schools or overcrowded prisons or unsafe highways outweigh the desire to keep taxes low. Fiftieth in spending among the 50 states isn't low enough."

Indeed, I have been rather frustrated with some national conservatives, like Dick Armey and Grover Norquist, who have had a knee-jerk reaction to the phrase "tax increase" without looking at the structural conditions in this state.

Posted by Steven Taylor at September 7, 2003 01:21 PM | TrackBack

Just as I said earlier. Perhaps, you are learning.

BTW, Virginia should worry; they're on the cusp of squandering terrific gains made in the 1980s and 1990s WRT attracting business /industry and having a very good educational system. They have much more to lose than Alabama.

Nobody enjoys paying taxes. But, they're a necessity if you want to furnish your citizens with a certain level of services. The GOP has done a real disservice to this country by being unwilling to have an honest debate on this issue.

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