Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Pan Riley's Budgets
Alabama Democrats at about 3:04 p.m. called on GOP candidates to reject Riley's "fantasy budget." But Republican candidates Tim James and Dr. Robert Bentley beat them to the punch.
Tim James sent the following in a press release at just before 3 p.m. Thursday:
“More federal bailouts leads to an addiction, like crack cocaine," James said. "Federal money comes with strings attached, and more and more Washington has become an unreliable source of revenue as Barack Obama and the Democrat-dominated Congress have run up a $1.3 trillion budget deficit. Our federal deficits are financed by China and Japan, in large part.
"When they decide to draw the line and cease to invest in U.S. Treasury notes, Alabama and other states dependent on federal bail-out money will be in real financial trouble," he said.
James said the state of Alabama must come to grips with the state budget and get its fiscal house in order. Further delays, he explained, only aggravate the problems that must be dealt with eventually.
“Our unfunded liability in state pension funds exceeds $7 billion and counting,” James said. “Our costs for health care, including Medicaid, are overwhelming and outgrowing our ability to keep up. Bail-outs don’t solve the underlying problems while encouraging an unhealthy addiction to federal money.”
Dr. Robert Bentley's campaign sent the following in a press release at just before 5 p.m. Wednesday:
“Relying on federal stimulus money to fill in our budget gaps is short-sighted. Last year we refused stimulus money because it would have made us change our unemployment benefit laws and then leave us responsible for funding the new program after the funds ran out. Other stimulus programs come with similar requirements and future consequences. As Republicans, I believe we should carefully examine any money which would cause us to change our laws in order to receive federal funds.”
“Gov. Riley’s education budget calls for spending $468,928,730 more in fiscal year 2011 than in fiscal year 2010. The Education Trust Fund does not have this much money, and unless the Governor knows where extra money is, there is no way that we can fund this increase.”
“It would be a tremendous disservice to local school systems to craft a budget that is overly optimistic. The worst thing that can happen to a school system is to be given unrealistic numbers and then have to operate under proration when the promised money does not appear. I believe we should craft a more conservative budget which contains “conditionals” so that local school needs are protected before funding new programs.”
Not to be outdone Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks, who as commissioner of Agriculture and Industry had a front row seat to hear the governor bash what is essentially one of his top platform issues -- gambling -- issued the earliest statement at just before 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
"Last night's performance by Bob Riley was shameful," Sparks said. "At a time when our working families are struggling under the weight of an 11 percent unemployment rate, he says he's created thousands of new jobs. At a time when teacher layoffs are a possibility and our kids bring toilet paper to school to help out, Bob Riley says he has plenty of money for education.
“And at a time when our seniors and children wonder if they will still have health care next year, Bob Riley says, 'Don't worry. Be happy.'
“Folks, we don't just have a budget crisis, we have a leadership crisis. I am the only candidate for governor with a plan to increase revenue. We need an education lottery and we need to make legal gaming establishments finally pay their share of taxes, just like Alabama families do. We need action, not slogans or sound bites.
“That's the kind of governor we need, not one that hides his head in the sand or tells us how sunny it is while the rain pours.”
-- posted by Markeshia Ricks