Tax Plan Failure

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Gov. Bob Riley needs only one word to describe state government if Alabama voters reject his $1.2 billion tax plan tomorrow: dysfunctional.

Riley estimates the largest budget deficit since the Great Depression will result in Alabama turning loose 5,000 inmates, increasing class sizes by as much as 50 percent, cutting ten percent of the state employees, and ending nursing home care for hundreds of elderly Medicaid patients.

Opponents downplay such talk. They say there is plenty of budget cutting Riley could have done rather than proposing the largest tax increase in state history.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas, co-chairman of Citizens for a Sound Economy, said Alabama shouldn't be talking about a tax hike as long as it's spending state tax revenue on Junior Miss pageants, a hockey arena, and hundreds of pork barrel projects.

Riley says that if his plan fails Tuesday, he won't propose any other taxes to the Legislature in the special session.

If the package fails, some legislators expect to see another attempt made to bolster state revenue by legalizing casinos or a state lottery.