The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Opinion

October 7, 2012

State should consider the single-budget approach

Montgomery Advertiser on the state budget:

Alabama has bought some budgetary time with the passage of the funds transfer amendment on Sept. 18, but that decision, momentous as it was in the short term, is not in itself any sort of real fiscal reform. However, it does raise once again the question of how Alabama does its budgeting, of the dubious practice of employing two budgets rather than one, as most other states do.

Regrettably, Gov. Robert Bentley, an advocate of a single budget, seems to have abandoned any pursuit of it. ...

A single budget — rather than a budget for education and another budget for other functions of state government, with each fed by various earmarked taxes and revenue sources — would allow the state to take all of its fiscal resources and allot them according to prioritized needs. These decisions could change from fiscal year to fiscal year as conditions dictate.

Especially if coupled with meaningful tax reform that makes equitable use of the state’s full tax base, switching to a single budget could be a real boon for Alabama.

Of course there will be political opposition; Bentley’s right about that. Education forces, for example, will surely charge that schools will be shortchanged and will use their considerable political muscle to fight the change.

The strong affirmative vote in the Sept. 18 referendum suggests that Alabamians may be open to changing the budgeting system. It’s not a perfect comparison, but the vote allowed the state to use for a different purpose money it had available, much as it could do with a single budget that brings all revenue into one budgetary pool to be distributed according to prioritized needs.

This would change things dramatically, in particular by requiring a lot more fiscal decision-making by the governor and Legislature. But what’s wrong with that? They’re elected to make decisions.

Bentley should not give up on the single-budget approach. He has the bully pulpit of the governor’s office from which to tout its virtues, and he ought to use it.

1
Text Only
Opinion
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee