Do you ever read a news story, then re-read it, then read it a third time and ask yourself if that really happened? It could just be me, however that’s the reaction I had to the AL.com report “Gov. Robert Bentley says lawmakers can’t be ‘partially pregnant’ after raising local taxes, fees.”
The story quotes Bentley saying, “You can’t be partially pregnant.” “Either you’re going to have to vote for taxes or not vote for taxes. So, if you’ve already voted for taxes, you’ve already done it.” This is a valid point. I give him credit for that, to the extent members are saying, “No. No. No. I won’t support any tax increases.” There is an argument to be made that they have already done so.
Still I’m not liking where the governor is going with this one. To me his “partially pregnant” defense of raising taxes is half-baked. Essentially, he’s saying, well, since legislators passed some local bills and allowed fees to be increased in a more efficient and streamlined manner, they need to concede that they’re OK with being a tax-and-spender and go ahead and increase all the taxes he has requested. Taxes that would affect nearly every Alabama business and family.
Let me just assure lawmakers that if I were someone who ran on the promise of small government, fiscal responsibility and no tax increases, I wouldn’t take the bait on this one. I assure you not all increases are equal and the conservative voters who sent you to Montgomery are smart enough to tell the difference between local taxes and fee increases (which are taxes by another name) and the types of increases it would take to get the state’s budget in a somewhat workable place.
The governor gave the partially pregnant image, so let me give you a different one. Imagine you’re a teen-age boy dating the sheriff’s precious daughter. You may safely get to first base (pass the increase you did during session) and daddy may be let the goodnight kiss slide, but try to round the bases (pass the whole enchilada of proposed increases) at your own peril.
I urge the members to stick to their principles and not raise taxes in the Special Session. The wrath of angry voters on Election Day is right up there with an angry daddy and his shotgun.