Yep. We're 50th! Even though we're already the lowest in the nation, mark my words, Republican candidates next year will be running on a platform of lower taxes. What goes along with being 50th in taxes is being at the bottom in every measure of public services, too. Schools, roads, public health — you name it, we're at or near the bottom. It isn't because Alabamians are too dumb to do better, it's because we collectively don't have the resources to do better. We're holding our economy together with the equivalent of baling wire and duct tape.
Bob Riley says the low tax rate is a big draw to get retirees to move to Alabama. That's true, but is it really a good thing? Especially when you consider that many who graduate from college in Alabama leave the state to pursue careers. Retirees don't have much interest in schools or jobs. I'd rather have those young people stay in this state, work and raise their families here, myself. And I totally agree with Rep. John Knight:
State Rep. John Knight, D-Montgomery, who chairs the House Government Appropriations Committee, countered that in his view, governments in Alabama do not collect enough taxes to adequately serve the residents.
“I think we're lacking in terms of education. And as we attract industry, I think that we've got to provide more for infrastructure: roads, bridges, health care. Across the board, I think all of that has to be in the equation,” Knight said.
You need to spend money to make money, or spend money to attract jobs that pay well. Alabama hasn't been willing to do much of that, our leaders apparently satisfied with selling Alabama as a place with low taxes, cheap labor and no unions to speak of. Is that the future we want?