To Tax or Not To Tax: Is there ever a question?

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The legislature is in session today. There’s much work to be done but one subject dominates: the state budget. Gov. Robert Bentley is pushing for tax increases.

So far it looks like legislative leadership and most members are standing united against the governor’s efforts. I applaud them. While I try not to make statements like always and never, I can say with certainty additional taxes are rarely the solution.

No surprise the usual suspects from the left, the ones who never think there’s enough to be spent by the government, have joined in the fight and are supportive of efforts to tax, tax, tax.

While I’m not blind to the circumstances spending continues, costs are rising and current revenue isn’t enough I’m also not deaf to the fact that the chicken little sky is falling arguments aren’t true either.

I worked on the Hill in D.C. as the sequester cuts were fought over repeatedly. I sat in meeting after meeting and read letter after letter about how across-the-board cuts would devastate services and cause havoc, death and destruction. When cuts started to take effect the destruction predicted didn’t follow.

The problem is that government will continue to grow and the reality is there are cuts to be made along the way. Maybe those cuts aren’t all equal. It’s pretty clear that the Alabama prison system is one place where any dollar moved needs to be done so with thoughtful deliberation but that’s not to say there isn’t anything that can be done at all.

It comes back to what is the role of the government in our state and our nation? What services must they provide and what can and should be left to private businesses and our communities? Our legislative leaders are facing tough questions, but I encourage them to exhaust all possibilities before resorting to any tax increase. They have the will of the people behind them.

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