Political columnists debate: Bentley declares proration (liberal view)

1) Do you agree with the governor’s decision to declare proration on the Education Trust Fund and the General Fund? Why or Why not?

It was an absolutely horrible idea-probably the worst idea the Alabama government has made since, well, last year when they declared proration. Alabama has the lowest property taxes in the country, and we fund everything by sales taxes. Every time the nation goes though a recession our sales taxes drop, and our state funding is demolished. If the state would raise our property taxes and quit funding education from sales taxes, the state would never need to declare proration and our education system would never be hurt.

2) Some programs, such as the prison system and ethic commission, did not receive proration. Do you think it is fair to the rest of the state programs to receive proration, while these do not?

This is just proof that education comes last on the priority list for funding in this state. I have never figured out why it does; maybe it’s because it’s the status quo, maybe they just want to keep us all dumb, who knows? But it never fails: education is always the first funding to be cut. If you want to practice conservatism, take a lesson from Britain and cut every single state funding program and see if it works. It will fail, but at least you will have proven once and for all it doesn’t work.

3) Do you think there is any other way to balance the budget in Alabama besides proration?

Taxes, taxes, taxes. It’s actually pretty simple. If you raise taxes, Alabama won’t go through a recession every two years and we won’t need to declare proration. Also, we can stop giving every single business that wants to enter the state a 20+ year tax break. I understand there needs to be incentives to bring business here, but there are businesses that have been in the state since the ’80s that are still not paying property taxes.

4) What effects do you believe this will have on our state and the programs that have been affected?

The long-term effects of proration over the past few years will be deadly to our children’s education. The school system’s not receiving enough funding traumatizes our children’s learning capabilities. Alabama does not fund the best teachers, the best learning enhancement tools, the best text books. All of these aspects hurt our children’s education and chances to achieve success in college and in the workforce. The proration on the other state programs being affected is also traumatic. Lack of funding basically means lack of payroll for these state agencies and that means fewer people working. Cutting spending is not the way to fix our economy-raising the taxes and increasing spending to put people to work will.