Dear Editor;

It is good to know that in our area there are still two honest politicians. Although they voted “no” on the recent gas tax increase, both Senator Stutts and Legislator Sorrell recognize that our state needs infrastructure additions and improvements. However, they also recognize several other key features relevant to this issue: Alabamians are already over-taxed; the majority of their constituents do not want this extra tax; the adverse effects of this tax will be proportionately higher among lower income people; a significant portion of the existing gas tax revenues are spent on programs other than highway infrastructure projects; there are several other new revenue streams available in Alabama that could have easily accommodated additional needed highway funds in the coming years; requirements for expenditures of the new tax revenues restrict government in-house use and highly favor contractors; strong-arm tactics were used to persuade (buy) legislator’s “yes” votes; the emphasis on new programs should instead have been on how to streamline government operations and curtail spending.

The vote on this issue was elevated to occur in an Ivey-called special legislative session, prior to the regular session. This devious maneuver fulfilled two Ivey agendas: legislators had less time to study alternative solutions, and there was a limitation on the amount of legislative discussions allowed before voting occurred. There were many senators and legislators who had previously indicated they would have voted “no” for this increase. However, there were powerfully persuasive methods used against them to entice them to change their vote to “yes”. The new tax bill is structured so that gas tax rates are now set to increase in future years with no time limit.

This kind of tyrannical state government is not what Alabamians want or expect. The fiscal indiscretions of past Alabama leaders are coming back to haunt us now. This is even more reason to reform current fiscal policies. That is why we elected such men as Senator Stutts and Legislator Sorrell to fight against this type of offensive legislation. We are so blessed to have men of character to represent the people and who are willing to vote for what is right in the way that their constituents requested. What we really need are more men of this type in our government.

Mike Wahl

Athens