Don’t forget the recent past: We must do better on our state budget.

As everyone knows, if you spend more than you have, sooner or later you’re going to be in trouble. For years, conservative candidates have told us they will be the ones to go to Montgomery and finally take on the government’s massive spending habit. Well, with Alabama sitting nearly 70 billion dollars in debt, we have failed to see any consistency in leadership we’ve been promised.

In 2015, our elected officials couldn’t get it together – and after 2 special sessions ended up heading Governor Robert Bentley’s calls to raise taxes and fees and borrowing money from the education trust fund. Agency budgets were cut but the underlying problem continued.

In 2016, the budget mess in Montgomery, again, focused on Governor Bentley calling on tax increases. If not for a handful of strong members in the senate and a group of strong conservatives in the state house, led by Will Ainsworth, he may have gotten his way.

We need to, as Twinkle Cavanaugh would say, “Right Size” government by making smart cuts preemptively and getting back to the basics of what the government’s role is and what isn’t.
This year, we’re seeing much less drama where the budget is concerned in Montgomery. That shouldn’t make us feel comfortable.

Our state spending remains out of control and instead of our leaders looking at areas to cut or streamline, there are some in Montgomery telling us it’s time to prepare for new taxes.

We are talking about tax increases on residents who are already seeing the government pull from their paychecks.

When conservatives like Senator Bill Holtzclaw and Representative Will Ainsworth stood up to Bentley’s plan, the former governor sent the Alabama Department of Transportation Director to attack him. In a move that would make Chris Christie proud, ALDOT Director John Cooper halted transportation funding in Holtzclaw’s district, simply because he was keeping his promise to the voters and opposed more egregious taxes.

Unfortunately, even with Bentley gone, Governor Kay Ivey has yet to tackle the way Montgomery looks at its fiscal responsibilities and has said she supports the tax increases. Even more shockingly, she has yet to replace Cooper, who abused his authority to allocate taxpayer money to go after good conservatives.

It’s time for Governor Ivey to take a different approach to Alabama’s budget, and cut spending and allow the free market to grow the economy. It’s time for Governor Ivey to make sure that the people in her cabinet are representing the interest of taxpayers and businesses and not playing political games with their responsibilities. We’ve seen the success that President Trump’s recent tax cuts are having, record economic growth. The state should get out of the way and start letting the private sector take over. For instance, instead of running over 170 ABC liquor stores, the state could turn over control to private businesses.

That’s just one example of a not-very-creative idea that Governor Ivey could use to get our spending under control. If she just takes a look at the budget, I’m sure she can find others as well.