Baron Coleman: Alabama Republican legislators propose tax hikes, political suicide

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Alabama State House

Republican Members of the Alabama House and Senate can’t seem to get to Montgomery fast enough to raise taxes.  Don’t believe me?  Ask them. 

Seriously.  Ask them. 

Alabama press clippings are littered with Republican legislators bragging about raising your taxes when the legislative session convenes in a few weeks.

Soaking the middle class in gasoline taxes could be the political version of soaking yourself in gasoline and setting yourself of fire, especially for the new guys.

Anyone have a match?

Hiking taxes is a dangerous game.  The move can be career ending.  Ask HW Bush. 

The ads write themselves: 

“(INSERT NAME OF FRESHMAN LEGISLATOR)’s first vote in the Alabama legislature was to raise your taxes.  Do you remember him campaigning on raising taxes?  I don’t either.  Vote (INSERT NAME OF CHALLENGER HERE) to replace (FRESHMAN LEGISLATOR).  (CHALLENGER) won’t lie to you and raise your taxes.” 

What’s the explanation from the tax-hiking freshman legislator?  That it was actually his tenth vote, not his first?

Geez.  Good luck with that.  I hope they pass out early before the skin starts smoldering.

Governor Kay Ivey is even getting into the mix.  Remember during her most recent campaign for governor when she ran on raising taxes? 

I don’t either.

I do remember the governor’s commercials touting the largest tax cut in Alabama in years.  It only amounted to about a penny every four-and-a-half days or so for each Alabamian, but a cut is a cut! 

I also remember when Governor Robert Bentley announced a plan to raise taxes in 2015 while his website banner still said, “No New Taxes!”

Governor Ivey’s announcement is Bentley-esque in that respect.  Or did she take her tax cut ad off of YouTube before announcing her plan to raise taxes?

With all the dangers associated with hiking taxes, you would think all the tax revenues at least would inure to the benefit of the state coffers managed by the members of the House and Senate who are voting to raise your taxes. 

You would be wrong.

All of the current tax-hike proposals floating around Montgomery involve sending a chunk of the money – up to half – to the counties and cities. 

In other words, freshman legislators are being duped into raising taxes and taking political bullets for their local county commissioners and city councilmen who won’t have to take the same political risks involved in raising taxes. 

If a liberal mayor in a conservative small town in Alabama didn’t write this gas tax plan in a backroom while smoking an expensive cigar and patting some shadowy figure on the back, the universe missed a great opportunity to bring to reality the worst elements of political fiction.


Baron Coleman is a lawyer, radio talk show host on News & Views on 93.1 FM, and political consultant based out of Montgomery, Ala.