Tuggle says he won’t run for another term in the state house

Published 2:31 pm Thursday, August 27, 2015

By Cliff Williams | Alex City Outlook 

Rep. Mark Tuggle says he is not running for re-election in 2018.

“I am not running for the House again.” Tuggle said following Tuesday’s quarterly luncheon with the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce.



Tuggle was elected to represent District 81 in the house in 2010 and has three more years left in his second term in the state house. He did leave the door open for other political offices.

“I believe in term limits. Two (terms) is it for me,” Tuggle said. “I might run for something else. I do not know what that is. If the right opportunity presents itself, I will look into it.”

Tuggle did hint at a reason for not seeking reelection beyond term limits.

“This job takes a lot out of you,” Tuggle explained. “No matter how hard you try, you neglect some other part of your life in this job.”

Tuggle spoke to chamber members about what to expect in the second special session.

“We can cut the budget,” Tuggle said. “We can talk about starving the beast all we want but the beast will never starve. What will happen is the constituents will pay. “

Tuggle went on to explain problems in the general fund.

“The General Fund is bad shape,” Tuggle said. “We have been robbing Paul to pay Peter for a number of years and it’s time to fix the problem. If we don’t fix the general fund, Hell is coming.”

“We need $200 million just to level fund the general fund,” Tuggle said. “We need another $60 million to fund Medicaid and we need to fund prison reform.”

Tuggle explained that the gambling issue cannot be taken up in this special session.

“No gaming or lottery legislation proposed in Montgomery will resolve the funding problem that will hit us come Oct. 1,” Tuggle said. “That type of legislation should only be taken up in a regular session. It cannot be given the attention it needs in a special session. That revenue stream (if passed) is at least a year away and will not help with the funding issue come Oct. 1.”

Tuggle explained the importance of funding prison reform.

“What will happen if we don’t fund prison reform?” Tuggle asked. “The feds will come in and take over, just open the doors of the prisons. They want to make an example of Alabama in a number of areas including Medicaid.”

Tuggle said that a reform bill was passed but just needs funding in the special session.

“We are at 200 percent capacity in our prisons,” Tuggle said. “We devised a plan to hire more probation officers and to accelerate the release of non-violent offenders. We will watch them in the community with the extra probation officers. Other states have done this and have seen a significant reduction in their prison population.”

With a plan to get the prison population down, Tuggle said he thinks that might keep the federal government away.

“I think if we can get our numbers down, the feds will take us off their radar screen,” Tuggle said.

Tuggle told members of the chamber what he would be voting for in the upcoming second special session.

“I am going to vote for a cigarette tax,” Tuggle said. “25 cents a pack will raise $66 million. That is cigarettes only, no other tobacco products. I am going to vote to repeal the FICA deduction. That raises $250 million and will cost the average wage earner $287 a year.”

The date for that special session has not yet been set. The fiscal year for the State of Alabama starts Oct. 1.