For Immediate Release: August 17, 2015
WHY I OPPOSE UNEARMARKING
Why I Oppose Unearmarking
By Randall Shedd
As I talk to people in my legislative district, most people tell me they would pay “a little more” in taxes if they knew what it was going for. Earmarking taxes does just that.
But, in Montgomery the plan is just the opposite - unearmarking.
It sounds good. It makes a good bumper sticker. It’s good “party” politics. But, let’s think for minute, it hasn’t worked in Washington.
Do we really want to send our tax dollars to Montgomery politicians without any restrictions? I don’t.
I serve in the legislature in Montgomery and I can tell you, I don’t want to send the legislature a blank check, do you?
My favorite way of taxing is voluntary taxes. This past regular session, Senator Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) and I worked together to pass a Mega-Tag Bill, which raises $5 million in voluntary revenue for the state. You can now buy a host of specialty tags if you want to but you don’t have to.
Voluntary taxes help, but won’t solve the problem.
I have identified entire layers of government with budgets totaling over $1/2 billion dollars annually that I think could be eliminated without hurting services - regional government. But, so far cutting has fallen on deaf political ears.
Senator Marsh says in the Senate there isn’t an appetite for raising taxes. Well, I haven’t found much of an appetite for eliminating regional government either. Too many buddies connected.
I have been saying publicly for months that I believe the solution to the budget crisis is a combination of cuts and new revenue streams.
Again, the people in my district tell me they would pay a little more in taxes if they knew how it was spent. so, if we have new revenue streams let’s tell the people how we will spend it. Let’s earmark it.
Let’s earmark it for:
Public health - I want the restaurants where I eat to be inspected.
Hospitals - I want Children’s Hospital to be open and thriving if one of my grandchildren or any child needs medical attention. And, I want a hospital close by, even in rural areas ready to respond to any medical need.
Public safety - I want law enforcement and first responders to be ready when the “crazies” of society today harm innocent people.
Forensic Science and Courts - I want swift justice for those who prey against innocent people of any age, but especially children and senior citizens. In my home county, a beautiful innocent child named Hoss died on his first birthday from 36 hours of torture documented by the state’s forensic science department, but it took 17 months to get the autopsy report.
Veterans Services - I want my state to meet the needs of the men and women fought for my freedom. They shouldn’t have to wait in long lines or find the door closed at Veterans Affairs offices.
Senior Citizens - I want to take care of senior citizens in my state who paid taxes for a lifetime and established the infrastructure we enjoy today. If they need a hot meal delivered to their home we should do it. If a nursing home bed is their only way to survive, we should make sure they have it.
Parks and Leisure - Not everyone can afford a country club membership. I want state parks and public recreation available to everyone.
Agribusiness - I want our state to continue to meet the needs of our number one industry (agriculture). I want the poultry diagnostic centers to be able to help contain things like bird flu.
Tourism - I want people from other states spending their money in Alabama. The tourism industry brings in millions of dollars from other states and is a robust component of our state economy.
Education - And, most importantly, I want my grandchildren and their generation to have the best education possible to be able to compete worldwide throughout their lifetime. Remember the old adage, “If you give me fish, you feed me today. If you teach me to fish, you feed me for a lifetime”.
Earmarking tax dollars is setting priorities. That’s why I voted against unearmaking.
District 11, Alabama
House of Representatives
1461 Welcome Road
Cullman, AL 35058
256.531.6641 Cell Phone
For More Information Contact: (256) 582-0619
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