Voters: Beware of Legislature

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 8, 2009

A former Clanton Advertiser managing editor, Jerry Shiverdecker, wrote an editorial once that warned Alabamians to hide their best horse, their money and their daughters “because the Alabama Legislature was back in session.”

The statement was his way of saying nothing is safe when the legislature is in session. Considering the actions of the now only days old legislature, I tend to agree with Jerry’s assessment.

I never cease to be amazed at the content of bills that are introduced by Alabama legislators and at the number of bills that are introduced. Former House of Representative member Curtis Smith told me once too many bills passed by the legislature is not always a good thing.

Passing a few good, meaningful bills is much better that running bills through the process that may not receive proper inspection prior to their passage.

Here is an example of what appears to me to be a strange bill. On Thursday the House Education Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would remove sales, use and lodging taxes on companies that make movies in Alabama.

Sales and lodging taxes help county and municipal governments pay for services such as police and fire protection the movie companies will certainly request. Hopefully the rest of the representatives and senators will not have stars in their eyes (as did the committee members) when the bill comes up for debate.

The same house appropriations committee voted (by voice) to pass a bill to the full House that would remove the state’s four-cent tax on certain groceries items. Of course the bill has a plan to collect the lost tax revenues from Alabamians who have higher family incomes.

This Robin Hood-type (take from the wealthy and give to the non wealthy) legislation is not new but is popular with those representatives who see it as a means of actually raising taxes when they appear to be reducing taxes. When it is passed, the bill certainly will give middle and higher income people another reason to leave Alabama.

You know considering the two proposed bills above and the many more that will surely be introduced in the legislature this session, maybe Jerry was right. Nothing really is safe when the legislature is in session.