It#039;s not always a win-win situation

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 28, 2001

From time to time we hear the expression, it's a win-win situation. In a sense, that was my position with the Alabama-Auburn football game which was played just a few days ago. I hold my undergraduate degree from Auburn and my law degree from the University of Alabama. During my college days, I worked in the athletic departments at both Auburn and Alabama. I became close to both programs and am one of those rare fans who roots for both schools.

But sports is not what I have in mind discussing with you today. I am really alluding to Governor Don Siegelman's posture with respect to the forthcoming special session of the Alabama Legislature.

I think the Governor feels he is in a win-win situation. If the legislature passes some form of a revenue producing measure which bails out our schools, then he will no doubt take credit and proclaim it a &uot;win.&uot; On the other hand, if the legislature fails to pass a tax increase of any kind, then he will blame the legislature and not himself. No doubt he would characterize this as a &uot;win&uot; for himself.

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There are two parts of this picture that are unfair. First, the governor of this or any other state is the leader who is charged with finding solutions to all problems and particularly those problems related to what voters say is the number one issue in our state n education. A problem is not resolved, in my opinion, when you merely go year after year and apply bandaids. Good, solid leadership finds the root problem and does a complete overhaul or reform to reach a meaningful resolution.

The second unfair part is that the Alabama Constitution expressly provides that the governor shall submit a budget to the Legislature for all programs related to public education. These budgets must be sound and they must reflect some insight into the future. Too often the budgets I see coming from the administration are designed only to meet the needs at hand and do not anticipate circumstances for the future.

As your senator, I will take a close look at whatever the administration proposes in the way of corporate income tax increases. The governor stated in a recent public speech that a particular Alabama corporation has $1.2 billion in assets and recent sales in excess of $430 million. He stated that this company paid $25 million in federal taxes on those sales but paid nothing in Alabama taxes.

If this is true, and if there are other similar examples, then I will be supporting the governor's tax package as far as it equitably remedies such situations. I am not for imposing additional taxes on our small businesses or our citizens who are suffering during this extended economic turndown.

The legislature will convene in special session on Tuesday, December 4, for the purpose of examining this issue. I have always been a strong proponent of our public school systems in Alabama and I will continue to carry that torch. However, I want to be fair to our taxpayers, and I will be closely examining the legislative proposals that are offered.

Remember &uot;I'll go with you or I'll go for you&uot; to help you solve any problem related to state government. You can reach me during the special session at 334-242-7883.