Does the legislature deserve an F#039;?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 29, 2004

A friend telephoned me last week shortly after the Legislature had adjourned to express congratulations on a successful legislative session.

During the conversation, he stated what I feel is an interesting observation.

He told me that &uot;you certainly proved the pundits wrong.&uot;

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I asked him, what do you mean by that?

He replied that a few weeks ago the predictions were being made by so called experts that there was no way the Senate and House could pass a reasonable budget, but in reality this had been accomplished, even beyond the best expectations.

I took this as a compliment so I naturally agreed with him.

I then went to my dictionary to look up the word &uot;pundit&uot;, and I wanted to share with you what I found.

According to Webster’s dictionary, a pundit is a person who makes a pre-judgment and expresses it in an authoritative manner.

Well, I guess my friend is right.

I did read several newspaper articles which gave the Legislature an F, stated we would not pass a budget, and stated that we would act irresponsibly about taxpayer expenditures.

I feel like you — my constituents — know none of these predictions came true.

To the contrary, we passed two of the most responsible budgets since I have been in the Legislature, while at the same time eliminating all unnecessary appropriations to projects generally referred to as &uot;pork.&uot;

Even Governor Bob Riley, who several weeks ago publicly complained about the performance of the Legislature, was giving us high marks the day following adjournment.

So one of the morals to this story is that the pundits do not always know what they are talking about.

It strikes me that a pundit is much like a Monday morning quarterback — but in reverse.

The Monday morning quarterback is always an expert because he has the benefit of seeing how it should not have been done and he feels free to say in an authoritative manner what should have taken place.

The pundit merely assumes a position of authority in advance and declares that he is right without having the benefit of knowing exactly what will happen.

In any event, they are both &uot;experts&uot; and I guess we will always have to deal with them.

I think the better and fairer course is to adopt one of my late father’s favorite expression, &uot;the proof is in the pudding.&uot;

So much for my philosiphying today.

I just wanted to report to you that the Legislature did come through in a fine way to pass budgets that are sound and will keep the doors of government open to provide adequate services to the citizens of Alabama.

The one negative which can be attributed to what we have done is that we are yet to deal with long term solutions to budget concerns for our state.

We need to adopt some severe accountability measures and then look seriously at an appropriate revenue stream that is fair to all concerned.

Perhaps we will tackle that issue in the near future.

Senator Wendell Mitchell can

be reached at 334-242-7883, or by writing

to P.O. Box 225, Luverne, AL 36049.