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Sales tax upswing will help education

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–The continued upsurge in state tax collections during the current fiscal year is good news and bad news.
It is good news for public education, bad news for the General Fund.
The two taxes which have shown robust increases during the first eight months of the fiscal year are the sales and income taxes…and proceeds from those levies are earmarked entirely to education.
The numbers tell the story: Sales tax collections are up 7.9 percent; individual income tax collections are up 10.6 percent and corporate income tax collections are up a whopping 35.6 percent.
Meanwhile the taxes that go to the General Fund are up only 4.7 per cent.
Do those numbers suggest to anyone that the state should consider unearmarking its taxes?
Jim Zeigler, who has become sort of a clown prince of Alabama politics during the past few decades, stunned former Chief Justice Perry O. Hooper Jr. for a delegate seat at the convention.
It wasn't even close: Ziegler 81,943…Hooper 69,923.
In addition to holding the highest judicial post in the state, Hooper is a past chairman of the State GOP and was one of the most visible leaders of the Republican Party when it began to emerge as a major force several decades ago.
You have to believe that the Republican leadership in Alabama will find a place for Hooper at the convention, even if he doesn't have a vote.
A sidebar to this: Judge Hooper's son, Perry Hooper Jr., a former state legislator from Montgomery, won a delegate seat.
Obviously, that policy was junked years ago. Literally dozens of buildings (and a college or two) were named for Gov. George C. Wallace when he still lived, and countless others have been similarly recognized.
Govs. John Patterson and Albert Brewer had community colleges named for them and, of course, they are still living.
One building at a community college was named for a state official who later was convicted of a crime. It has since been re-named.
The questions about the propriety of naming buildings for living persons was no doubt prompted by the recent legislative resolution naming the State Judicial Building after two former chief justices who are still living–Howell Heflin and C. C. (Bo) Torbert.
Acting Chief Justice Gorman Houston has authorized two busts of the men to be displayed in the foyer of the building but their names will not be chiseled on the building.
Stokes saved the taxpayers more than a million dollars when he gracefully withdrew from a run-off election for a seat on the State Supreme Court.
Admittedly, Stokes had made the run-off by the narrowest of margins. The front-runner in the primary, Probate Judge Mike Bolen of Birmingham, was only a handful of votes shy of winning a majority.
No matter, Stokes had every right to contest the run-off, and with the blessing of former Chief Justice Roy Moore, he had a chance…albeit slim…to defeat Judge Bolin.
Judge Stokes showed a lot of class by deciding not to force the state to finance a run-off.

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