Martin mixed on Riley’s speech

Published 7:26 pm Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rep. Jimmy Martin said Gov. Bob Riley’s State of the State Address Tuesday night was a good speech, but he doesn’t necessarily agree with everything the governor proposed.

One thing that Martin said he especially liked about the speech was Riley’s statement about ethics reform.

“I will support his ethics reform,” he said. “I think it is something that we’ve needed.”

Martin said he also agrees with the governor about supporting education. Alabama’s reading initiative and the math, science and technology initiatives have been ranked some of the best programs in the nation.

Martin said he also doesn’t want to see the state expand gambling but said he does believe the current gambling establishments in the state should be taxed.

While he doesn’t know exactly how much a gambling tax would bring to the state, Martin does believe it could be a significant amount of money.

“These gambling companies are giving away Mercedes and other fancy things like that every week. I’m sure it would bring in some pretty good money,” Martin said.

One major issue in Riley’s message was that the state might not be able to create a budget until they know what President Barack Obama’s stimulus package will be. Until then, Riley told the legislature to be very conservative.

Martin said legislators planned to do that and not because of Riley’s message.

“There just isn’t money to give out,” Martin said. “If President Obama’s stimulus doesn’t pass, we’re going to be in really bad shape.”

The only other complaint Martin had about the State of the State Address was sitting conditions in the State Capitol.

“The chair was getting a little hard,” Martin said, “but it’s better than being in the old house chambers.”