Does the Riley tax plan make 'cents'?
Published 8:05 am Monday, August 4, 2003
Brian Giles Publisher
Whether you are for it, against it, or just plain tired of hearing about it, the debate is gearing up. Gov. Bob Riley's tax plan is taking over conversations all over the place – from water coolers to barbershops to local coffee hangouts.
For some voters it is difficult to understand; it is a very complex plan. Some taxpayers think it is absolutely right for the state of Alabama. For others, it is a subject that lights a quick fuse. Just make the mistake of mentioning the plan, and you can get an hour-long lecture on why it is bad. Riley has drawn criticism, even from his own party, that the plan is too drastic.
If you do one thing before the Sept. 9 vote, read the plan and make your own decision. Don't get caught up in the hidden agendas of various public service announcements. That is part of the beauty of living in a democracy. We, the people, have the power to decide if the plan is passed or rejected.
For me the answer is simple. We, the people, of Alabama have a choice to make. We can either invest in our state and improve our financial difficulties and prepare for the years ahead, or we can continue to let the foundations of education and public services continue to erode.
I have weighed the amount of impact that the new tax will have on my household, and I am willing to shoulder my share of the burden. Riley won me with his promise of accountability; I am willing to pay more taxes if I know that those dollars are being spent where they need to be. That is simply looking at it from my point of view. I understand that the impact will be more substantial for those with higher incomes. Those who have lower incomes in some cases will pay fewer taxes. That is why I urge you to do your homework, and decide for yourself.
I commend Gov. Riley, because something had to be done. Whether the plan passes or fails he stepped out on a very shaky limb and said, "If we are going to fix it this is what we must do." That took a lot of guts. I admire someone who tries to fix a problem instead of just putting on a band-aid. Riley is not trying to just fix it this year, but trying to straighten out a problem that we have let slide for decades.
I believe the plan is good and one that will get the state of Alabama back on financial track. It will be interesting to see what the people of Alabama decide in September.