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Monday, August 18, 2003

Alabama's GOP Governor Seeks Big Tax Hike

Via TomPaine.com's blog I see a reference to this article on the front page on Sunday's Washington Post. Republican Party Chairman Marty Connors best expresses how amazing the story is:

"'We've got a conservative, evangelical Christian, Republican governor,' he said, enunciating each word as if to get his head around the details, 'trying to get a massive turnout of black voters to pass a tax increase so he can raise taxes on Republican constituents.'"

I say good for Governor Bob Riley in finally coming to his senses. I hope he somehow manages to pull this off:

"In a stunning subplot to the fiscal crises roiling the states, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (R) -- who for three terms in Congress boasted that he never voted for a tax increase and was elected governor on a promise not to raise taxes -- is proposing to raise state taxes by a record $1.2 billion, eight times the largest previous increase and almost twice what is needed to close a $675 million budget deficit...

"'I'm tired of Alabama being first in things that are bad and last in things that are good,' an impassioned Riley told a Rotary Club in Prattville the other day as he traveled the state, sleeves rolled up, hawking what he calls Alabama's 'Foundation for Greatness.'"

Riley is actually using the New Testament to make his case, and Connors offers the nice, moderate quote, "If a Democrat had proposed this, we would be burning down cities." Unfortunately Grover Norquist and national Republican groups are working to defeat the plan and, "With four weeks of campaigning left, polls showed Riley's proposal at least 20 points behind." At the least this should provide some good political theater, if not an actual victory for the voices of reason in Alabama state government.

UPDATE: I see Time Magazine Online's Mitch Frank has written on this story too.