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Smith bows out of governor's race

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY-State Sen. Harri Anne Smith, R-Slocomb, was not going to be a major factor in the Republican gubernatorial primary, but her announcement a few days ago that she would not run could have a critical impact on that election.
The significance of her withdrawal is it all but guarantees that there will be no runoff in the GOP primary. If the Riley-Moore contest is as close as some think it may be, even a handful of votes attracted by Smith could have forced a runoff election in that contest.
For the record, after withdrawing from the race, she endorsed Gov. Riley.
At this juncture a prediction on Sen. Smith is in order: She will be heard from again on the state political scene.
And it is back on the agenda in the 2006 regular session of the Legislature.
Leading the fight for a new constitution – as it has for years – is the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform and leading the opposition – as they have for years – is the Alabama Christian Coalition and the Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA).
The opponents fear a new constitution would give local governments greater authority to raise taxes.
Alabama's Constitution was adopted in 1901. It has been amended more than 700 times. And yes, it is the longest constitution known to man. But every effort to draft a new document has been rebuffed, and it appears most unlikely supporters of a new constitution will have any more success this year than they've had in the past.
They are fighting a tough fight for a couple of reasons. First, most Alabamians don't lie awake at night worrying about how old or outmoded the constitution is, and secondly, opponents of a new constitution (most notably ALFA and the Christian Coalition) always portray the effort as a means to raise taxes.
When the enabling act passed the Legislature the GOP legislators wanted the amendment to be on the General Election ballot, thinking it would attract more conservative voters to the polls. The Democrats said "no way" and put it on the primary ballot.
The proposition is expected to pass by a huge margin.
He thinks they are too much of a distraction for inexperienced drivers.
But early indications are that despite his good intentions, the chance of the legislation passing is in the slim-and-none category. It is the sort of measure which rarely passes in an election year legislative session.
The measure was scheduled to be considered at a committee meeting last week but when it was brought up three Democratic members suddenly had somewhere else to be. They left, leaving the committee without a quorum.
The fact is a more correct answer would be "that's the price we and the taxpayers pay for us to live in paradise." U. S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, said last week there was a $23 billion shortfall in the National Flood Insurance Program as a result of Katrina and Rita and this debt would most probably be paid by the U. S. Treasury, which is to say by the U. S. taxpayers. Sen. Shelby said one of the questions which must be asked by the Senate Banking Committee, which he chairs, is a tough one: "Should we continue to subsidize building in hurricane and flood prone areas? Should the taxpayers pay for that?"
That's a question more and more taxpayers who don't live in paradise are asking.