Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Parks, DMVs close: Bentley owes Alabama an explanation

All we have is our word. We all hold to the old adage, your word is your bond. 

In April, Governor Bentley took to the media to lambaste lawmakers and threaten dire consequences if he didn't get $541 million in new revenue.  He outlined eight ways the state would suffer: state parks and driver's license offices would close, children will go hungry, elderly citizens will be kicked out of their nursing homes, and the list goes on.

"We're not trying to cry wolf," Bentley said. "If people say, 'Well, we hear this every year,' well, you know what? Let's quit saying it. Let's solve the problem once and for all."

Then the Governor said that we would need $300 million for the general fund to create a long-term solution--and for two special sessions, Legislators debated how to find that revenue.

Whether the methods to reach a solution were right or wrong, the Legislature reached a solution and put $166 million new dollars into the general fund--$86 million from new taxes and $80 million transferred from the Education Trust Fund through the Use Tax, matched with $154 million in additional budget cuts, freeing a total $320 million in funding for the General Fund.

Yet Bentley announced today that he is moving forward with his plans to close state parks and driver's license offices across Alabama, regardless of the new revenue in the General Fund Budget.

Governor Bentley, you owe us an explanation.  You stood at the podium and gave the people of Alabama your word, telling us that these tax increases were necessary to prevent closures.  But the closures are here, despite the $166 million new dollars in the General Fund Budget and $154 in budget cuts.  Why have you now gone back on your word? You got your money--with $20 million to spare--now it's time for you to uphold your end of the bargain and keep these important state services open. If the budget wasn't drafted to your satisfaction, you had the option to veto it.  It's unexplainable to resort to going back on your word.

1 comment:

  1. And while it deprives all citizens of inexpensive recreation when parks are closed, it disproportionately impacts the basic right of voting when the driver's license offices closed are primarily located in rural areas with many potential but currently unregistered African-American voters. From the Bentley / GOP point of view, closing the license office is a 'two-for'. It supposedly saves some money while serving as an effective way to further limit votes that would most likely be for Democrats.