|BARACK BENTLEY-9-29-15||| Print ||
Governor Robert Bentley has taken a page from President Barak Obama’s playbook with his threat to close down state parks and services that will impact a large segment of our population. One example of this is the impending closing of all but four DMV offices in the entire state.
We remember that, during the “sequester shutdown,” Obama made sure that the pain was felt as keenly as possible. And so dishonest was the president that he even shut down the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with the excuse that there was not sufficient funds to pay for security guards. Then it was revealed that there had not been security guards at the memorial previously, so some veterans took it upon themselves to reopen the park.
It was Governor Bentley who promised “no new taxes” during his reelection campaign (where had we heard that one before?). Then, at the first sign of a budget shortfall, he became as fervent an advocate for increased taxes as Walter Mondale ever was. What changed the governor so drastically, and why has he decided that dire threats are the proper way to motivate a Republican majority in the State House and Senate to commit political suicide and help him bleed the people for more money?
In an incredible example of newspeak ala 1984, Governor Bentley has declared that tax increases are the “conservative solution” to a budget that will not balance without increases in revenue. Like a Democrat, he now sees the people, not as citizens to be served, but revenue sources.
The conservative solution to Alabama’s budget “crisis” (the word liberals always use to stampede others into adopting their hare-brained schemes) is to decrease spending with a two-fold approach:
1. Identify and eliminate fraud and waste in government. Our State Auditor, Jim Ziegler, has already done a good job at this (and for it almost got his budget cut by 60% in an attempt to cripple his office – we would like to know who was behind that) and could no doubt ferret out more fat, fraud and foolishness.
2. Identify the budget items that are not legitimate functions of government and  immediately eliminate those that would not drastically impact any appreciable segment of the public, and  begin a phase-out of programs that could not be immediately eliminated.
What would constitute an illegitimate function of government? Anything that could be more properly or efficiently done by the private sector. This would include welfare, education, and dozens of other items currently funded by the state budget.
The answer for Alabama is not for conservative Republicans to ape liberal Democrats, but for conservatives to act like conservatives, and use the tried and proven methods that have produced prosperity in the past. Let us not forget our principles in the rush to expediency.
The Republicans in the state legislature should hold the line and refuse to approve any tax increases. It is time to rein in the governor, and remind him that he is supposed to work for the people and not the special interests.
If we truly need more revenue in the state’s coffers, a tax cut would be the answer. Time and again it has been proven that tax cuts stimulate economic growth, which produces more taxpayers and increased funds for government.
Ronald Reagan used tax cuts to more than triple the revenue coming into the federal government during his presidency. Of course, Democrats will point out that the federal deficit grew during the Reagan years. What they forget is that the Democrats in Congress spent the increased revenue and then some! If we can have tax cuts in Alabama, and our state legislature can resist the temptation to spend the increased funds, we will see our shortfall turn into a surplus.
Meanwhile, the governor owes it to the people to explain why he has done a 180-degree turn to the left. We thought we elected Robert Bentley, not Barak Bentley. ~~Dave Gunn
[Dave Gunn is the pen name of Dr. David E. Gonnella, pastor of the Magnolia Springs Baptist Church in Theodore, Alabama. The opinions expressed are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the church or its membership]