Budget Reform Now

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Churchill

Dear Republican Legislators,

Although many of you may in the ongoing special session prefer to discuss the current problems of the general fund in terms of pain that will be caused if important services of general government are not funded with new revenue and increased taxes, that would be a mistaking of the problem.

You are in fact reaping a crop of troubles caused by a dysfunctional budget system crafted over 136 years of Democrat rule to please the late Paul Hubbert, his AEA, and their fellow travelers.

The current budget process merely allocates revenue to the broad functions of education and general government based on obsolete rules long locked in political concrete. As we can see today, this approach means that we spend lots of money for a number of low priority, low payoff programs in education while urgent high priority needs in general government are grossly underfunded. For example, in the coming fiscal year we will spend $48 million on a new and growing pre-kindergarten program and we will give $10 million to Tuskegee University, a private school, while the urgent needs of mental health programs and prison reform need more money.

I think it makes no sense to pass a patched up budget until you reform your dysfunctional budget process. Until that is done there is no way to establish spending priorities or to determine the adequacy of current revenue. We need a multiyear, unified budget without earmarks, and we need to reform the state retirement system. Sadly, in five regular sessions our GOP led legislature has failed to get it done.

If there is not time to fix the budget process now in the fifth year of a GOP controlled  legislature, we can pay for the unfunded priorities of the general fund by moving money from the most obviously low priority programs in the education budget and by general government reforms such as getting Alabama out of the retail liquor business.

If you value your personal and collective credibility you will not raise taxes now, you will  not expand gambling now, and you will not create a state lottery now with only a promise to fix the budget process later.

And if you value your credibility you will keep your hands off the revenue set asides required by the education rolling reserve act and reject using it to pump up education spending, and you will reject the proposal to borrow $50 million to finish the deluxe lodge at Gulf State Park.

Neither a Republican majority nor political concrete will last forever, but I hope all of us would prefer the latter be the first to go.

Warm regards,

Taxpayer Tom

Huntsville cop guilty of beating a motorist and even used a racial slur, guess why no one really cares? ::CORRECTION: SUSPECT USED THE SLUR::

Why hasn’t this been all over the news?

A federal jury found Huntsville Police Officer Brett Russell guilty Thursday night of violating a suspect’s civil rights by beating him in custody and of obstructing justice by trying to cover it up.

Russell was taken into custody in the federal courthouse in downtown Huntsville immediately after the verdict and transported to an isolation cell in the Morgan County Jail. Because of the violent nature of his crime, federal prosecutors objected to Russell’s continued release on bond while awaiting sentencing. Sentencing is tentatively set in two months.

A police car video showed Russell pulling domestic violence suspect Gary Wayne Hopkins of out the back of a squad car in 2011, then hitting and kicking Hopkins as he was held down by other officers. Hopkins had kicked out the squad car’s window and allegedly called Russell a racial slur. 

WHOOPS: The suspect used the slur, not the cop. I stated the cop did and that is my mistake. Still….

Here is why no one cares…

Untitled

Cop on the left.

Switch these two photos and tell me what how the media covers this and how the rubes respond…

State Representative Ed Henry calls BS on Governor Bentley’s office on the need for new taxes….

Henry’s e-mail to his fellow legislators is here:

Bentley’s approval rating in my area is about 75% negative. He lied to the citizens of Alabama and they will not forget it.  I’m not surprised when you use scare tactics, like these questions obviously are, that a large number of respondents bent to his will. The simple fact is we have more than enough money in state government to provide all these functions. We just need to manage it better. HB322 this year is taking over $60,000,000 from the ETF Stabilization Fund and using it for capital improvements(wifi). It also takes over $190,000,000 out FY 2016 for capital improvements. As Fiscally Conservative Republicans we should manage the money we have and prioritize our spending. There is no need to ask the Tax payers of Alabama for more of their hard earned money. In 2010 every Republican elected ran on lower taxes and smaller Government and 2014 wasn’t much different.
 It is no wonder the people don’t trust their leaders.
We are Taxed Enough Already.
Ed
Bentley’s office’s original e-mail can be seen here
Who is right?

Governor Bentley’s charm offensive continues…

Here is the Governor’s Legislative Office’s latest attempt…

Dear Legislators,

Attached you will find the results of a poll recently conducted for the Alabama Council for Excellent Government by national pollster Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies.

Governor Bentley believes this poll of Republican primary voters confirms that Alabamians are not in favor of raising taxes UNLESS they are facing cuts to important state services like Medicaid, state troopers and state parks.

Some key points include:

·         62 percent of Republican primary voters say Governor Bentley and the State Legislature should increase revenue opposed to cutting spending on important government programs.

·         92 percent oppose both closing state parks and cutting back on the number of Alabama State Troopers

·         71 percent oppose taking money from surplus in the Education budget to help close the General Fund shortfall

Governor Bentley believes these results may be helpful to you as you all consider solutions to Alabama’s budget crisis.

Ummmm no.

The people don’t want taxes as revenue, they want gambling.

Most are not listening.

Congressman Mo Brooks wants to see the end of the prohibition on military members carrying weapons… Do you?

Statement here…

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the Marines and others who were murdered and injured in Chattanooga by a Muslim fundamentalist who put his religious zealotry and loyalty to  the Koran above the lives of unarmed Americans.

“America must learn from this repetition of an all-too-common occurrence.

“First, America’s commander-in-chief must reverse the order that denies our military personnel the right to carry the weapons they need to defend themselves.  Like it or not, America is at war.  It is absurd to disarm military personnel, thereby rendering them defenseless, like sheep being led to the slaughter.

He sees a problem with radical Islam and our response to it…

“Second, Americans must quit hiding from and denying as ‘politically incorrect’ the fact that many fundamentalist Muslims relish killing non-Muslims en masse, deriding us as ‘infidels’, when our only offense is our exercise of our First Amendment freedom of religion right to worship as we believe best honors our faith in and understanding of God.

He thinks we need to deny Iran the bomb…

“Third, it is critical for Congress and the White House to deny Iran’s Muslim fundamentalist government access to the nuclear weapons they say they will use to destroy Israel and bring ‘death to America’.  Congress will soon debate and vote on Obama’s nuclear arms treaty with Iran.  I pray God gives Congress the wisdom needed to get it right.  A bad decision unnecessarily risks the destruction of American cities and the deaths of millions of Americans.  The world has once again witnessed the damage Muslim fundamentalists do with guns.  It is horrifying to imagine what they can do to America and the world if, instead of guns, they use nuclear bombs.

And he believes our immigration law makes these events more likely…

“Finally, the Chattanooga massacre is yet another glaring example of how America’s immigration laws are severely flawed and increasingly put Americans at risk of murder, terrorism, and other horrific crimes.  President Obama and national Democrats must stop putting their personal political interests and agendas above the interests of the American people.

Time to pump the brakes on this absurd push to remove Confederate war memorials…

Take down the flags flying over the the statehouse in South Carolina, take down the flags on the grounds of the Alabama statehouse. Take down the stupid flag that was put up a reaction to the Civil Rights’ movement.

BUT guys like Chuck Dean, from an AL.com which can not resist gorging itself on things that just don’t matter. wishes to use a tragedy to fight a war that ended 150 years ago, relax.

It is embarrassing.

Stop.

You are embarrassing yourself.

These monuments represent monuments to American military veterans.

Period.

U.S. Public Law 85-425:  Sec. 410 Approved 23 May 1958

(US Statutes at Large Volume 72, Part 1, Page 133-134)

The Administrator shall pay to each person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War a monthly pension in the same amounts and subject to the same conditions as would have been applicable to such person under the laws in effect on December 31, 1957, if his service in such forces had been service in the military or naval forces of the United States.

Remarks: While this was only a gesture since the last Confederate veteran died in 1958, it is meaningful in that only forty-five years ago (from 2003), the Congress of the United States saw fit to consider Confederate soldiers as equivalent to U.S. soldiers for service benefits. This final act of reconciliation was made almost one hundred years after the beginning of the war and was meant as symbolism more than substantive reward.

Additional Note: Under current U.S. Federal Code, Confederate Veterans are equivalent to Union Veterans.

U.S. Code Title 38 – Veterans’ Benefits, Part II – General Benefits, Chapter 15 – Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability or Death or for Service, Subchapter I – General, § 1501. Definitions: (3) The term “Civil War veteran” includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term “active military or naval service” includes active service in those forces.

Tearing down the Confederate monument in Linn Park is the equivalent of tearing down the Alabama Veterans Memorial Park

Removing the statue that is on the grounds of the Madison County courthouse is the equivalent of bulldozing the Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial

Stop your stupidity.

Suspected hate crime committed by group non-specified suspects (for some reason)…

Hate crime reporting is fun, there is a crime, a victim and a potentially vile motivation for it…

Reporting on said hate crimes, should explain some of those things.

AL.com did this is a questionable gay bashing

Huntsville police say a man who claims he was attacked outside a downtown nightclub because he is gay did not report the assault as a hate crime.

Lt. Darryl Lawson said 26-year-old Gary Bravo and some friends were leaving Sammy T’s Music Hall around 2:30 a.m. Friday when several men began harassing a woman in Bravo’s group.

Bravo “became involved in a verbal exchange with the group of males and told them to leave her alone,” Lawson said Saturday. “When he did, they physically assaulted him.”

But couldn’t bring themselves to do it in this story

Florence police are investigating an assault report that occurred at Wilson Park.

A man said between 20 and 30 juveniles beat him and used a stun gun on him during First Fridays, according to AL.com’s news partner, WHNT News 19. The group also allegedly attacked his 14-year-old son. Both were left with facial injuries. The father has met with a facial surgeon, WHNT reports.

The man’s wife said the group used racial slurs and shattered their car windshield. She said her husband was trying to protect their son when the group turned on him.

Wonder why?

WHNT, to their credit, was much more a bit more thorough, at least provided photos so we could draw our own conclusions…

Investigators said 20 to 30 juveniles assaulted a Lauderdale County man and his 14-year-old son at Wilson Park.  According to the victim’s wife who witnessed the attack, the group “was using slurs of race” while tasing her husband and beating him.

Juli Dawes said her husband Kevin was trying to protect their son when they turned on him. She said the juveniles also shattered the windshield of her car, where she was waiting with her 4-year-old.

“I’m not as ready to identify this as a hate crime, but we are considering all angles,” said Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler. “There are no set of circumstances that would ever justify an unprovoked attack by a group of thugs, and we will not allow any group to hijack the family friendly First Fridays event.”

Investigators do not have any people of interest yet in this case.

The 14-year-old sustained facial injuries.

At last check, Kevin Dawes was meeting with a facial surgeon.  The 14-year-old son sustained minor injuries.

Why did this story take 4 days to get reported?

Let’s say this guys story is true and there IS a mob of 20 people attacking people in Florence, we may need some info on that crowd.

This is the kind of reporting and police work we are heading towards when we won’t identify race for fear of being called racist.

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