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Riley benefitting from strong economy

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Capitol Scene
MONTGOMERY — It came as no surprise, but when the state closed its books on Sept. 30 and the end of the fiscal year the numbers were incredible. Alabama's taxes generated more money than ever before in history.
Taxes earmarked for the Education Trust Fund, which supports public schools and colleges, produced $5.4 billion — up a whopping 10.6 per cent. The General Fund taxes generated $1.6 billion, an increase of 13.7 percent.
What is even more astonishing is that as recently as three years ago the state was in such dire financial straits that Gov. Bob Riley had proposed tax increases of more than $1 billion.
The good financial news had to be of political benefit to Gov. Riley because of an old rule: Incumbent governors (and presidents) get credit for good economic times and they get blamed for bad economic times, although they have little or nothing to do with either.
State Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Fayette, was quick to point this o“Whoever's in office claims credit for the good and blames the bad on the previous administration,” Bedford said.
To explain its impact I need to back into it: There is a requirement that every school district in Alabama (there are 131 of them) must collect 10 mills in property taxes “or its equivalent” for schools.
There are 31 districts which do not meet this 10 mill requirement. Instead, those districts make up the difference with money generated from a local sales tax.
The amendment on the ballot would mandate that these 31 districts raise their property tax to the 10 mill threshold, a tax hike of 10 cents on each $100 of taxable property.
The county school systems impacted by this amendment are Autauga, Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Elmore, Fayette, Hale, Houston, Jackson, Lamar, Lawrence, Limestone, Marengo, Marion, Montgomery, Pike, Tuscaloosa and Walker. The city school systems are Andalusia, Arab, Athens, Daleville, Dothan and Linden.
Darby is the guy who ran for attorney general in the Democratic Primary, and while he lost, he polled an astonishing number of votes — 167,067 to be exact. And this in spite of the fact that some of his views were far out of the mainstream.
So far out, in fact, that the state Democratic Committee passed a resolution in August telling Darby he was not welcome in the party.
Despite this, a few days ago Darby called on the party to dump Lucy Baxley as the nominee for governor and handpick him instead, because she does not have “a discernable or meaningful platform.”
Be certain that the Democratic party leadership very quickly told Darby to forget it.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recently distributed statewide its 2006-2007 Hunting and Fishing Digest.
It includes all the laws and regulations applicable to that sport.
Inside this publication is a full-page letter from Gov. Bob Riley in which he boasts about the state's natural resources and urges all Alabamians to protect these resources — just a warm and fuzzy letter.
The letter is written on the official stationery of the governor and in the upper left hand corner of the stationery appears the following: Office of the Governor, Don Siegelman, Governor.
Could be that there is a proofreader in the Department of Conservation who may soon be looking for a new job.

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