In a world free of political influences, Alabama’s state legislators would come to town on February 7th, immediately get down to work, and do some good business. In fact, their performance during the Regular Session would benefit all Alabamians and not just a favored and select few. That approach would also mean that lobbyists and special interest groups would no longer be able to set the agendas and virtually decide what bills pass and become law. It would be a welcomed change from the way things have worked in past legislative sessions. The members of the House and Senate, in a bi-partisan effort, would then be able to do all of the following:
• Set long-range priorities for state government and follow up with sound long-range planning;
• Make public education the real priority in our state for the first time;
• Restructure our state’s tax laws;
• Find badly-needed revenues and then adequately fund the essential functions of state government, including public education at every level;
• Cut out unnecessary corporate loopholes in our tax system;
• Repeal the sales tax on groceries;
• Pass meaningful constitutional reform;
• Enact a statewide ban on the use of cell phones while driving a motor vehicle;
• Repeal the ill-advised immigration law;
• Set an example on the state level that would discourage racism in our state; and
• Allow reasonable debate on all bills with full debate on the more important ones during the session.
I am reasonably sure that none of our Alabama readers who keep up with the legislature believe much, if any, of the above will actually happen. But I wonder if any of them have ever considered how things would be in our state if the legislators really worked to benefit all Alabamians and not just a select few? I hope that, because of the prospects of an extremely difficult session, caused by a lack of money, members of the House and Senate will make 2012 the year Alabama really turns the corner, enabling Alabama to finally reach its full potential as a state.
We have good folks throughout Alabama, who are up to any challenge, and our state has been blessed with more than its share of the nation’s natural resources. So why haven’t we done better as a state? Why are we so far behind in so many areas of concern? In my opinion, the one thing that has been lacking in state government is strong and effective leadership in both the Executive and Legislative branches of government. It’s high time for our elected officials to step up to the plate, make the required tough decisions, and then lead our state in the right direction. I believe Gov. Robert Bentley is a man with the courage required to take on this battle. But if he does, the governor will need lots of help. If Governor Bentley will meet this challenge and do the things necessary to right the ship of state, we can then watch Alabama grow and prosper in the years to come like never before.
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