State of State address outlines priorities

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 10, 2001

Gov. Don Siegelman addressed Alabama lawmakers and citizens Tuesday, and set the tone for the third legislative session under his watch.

That address came on the heels of Siegelman's Friday annoucement that state funding for public schools would be reduced by 6.2 percent during the current budget year.

And since education is high on the governor's priority list, it leaves many wondering about education funding in the future. Siegelman wants to continue improving our state's schools, which have historically ranked low nationwide, and we support that mission.

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The challenge, as always, is finding the money to pay for it along with all the other items the state government has to fund. As for the schools, we know most of them will find a way to squeak by and get all the bills paid this year

although many, including Butler County, say they will have to deplete all reserves to make it through the year.

What about next year?

With the majority of education expenditures going to salaries, the only option if funding is short again next year is to cut teachers, which will most likely work against improving education.

Siegelman is still committed to luring business to the state, a move that will increase funding for government projects over the long haul.

Lawmakers need to ensure funding is there for our schools before spending another dime.

If that means more taxes, so be it.