Wake up the governor when September ends

Since coasting to victory by a 63 to 36 margin, Governor Bentley’s luck has taken a turn for the worse.

After this historic margin of victory, the governor went to work toward addressing the state’s budget short fall. The governor began advocating for roughly seven hundred million in new state revenues.

This announcement angered Republicans and Democrats alike because during the campaign season. Bentley failed to mention the looming budget crisis.

His plan included proposals such as a significant increase of the states cigarette tax, increasing the automobile sales tax, as well as the closing of corporate and income tax loopholes. The package was received coolly in the Alabama house and Del Marsh Alabama’s Senate Majority leader vowed to fight any form of tax increase.

Frustration with the governor’s agenda reached a head in April with the Republican leaning Yellowhammer News site releasing a satirical article announcing that Bentley had become a Democrat. It seems this was just the start of the Bentley’s awful year.

In late August, Alabama citizens were surprised to learn that the governor’s wife was filing for divorce after fifty years of marriage. The announcement along with the court records related to the divorce being sealed has produced a great deal of speculation.

Gossip that Bentley has been engaged in an affair with a staffer has gone viral. The gossip has been taken seriously enough that Republican State Representative Allen Farley requested a look into the Bentley’s use of the state’s plane, helicopter and state trooper detail to determine if state funds have been used inappropriately.

In addition to these troubles, the Bentley will also have to navigate bizarre proposals from the state legislature to address the budget shortfall, such as the proposed forty percent porn tax.

While the proposal is unlikely to become law merely making it out of committee will likely lead to quite a bit of laughter at the expense of the state’s dignity.

If debate on this unorthodox solution moves forward film buffs can only hope that “R” rated films do not also fall under this definition of pornography.

The governor and his allies may also have to contend with the possible blow back from the handful of Democrats remaining in the legislature almost unanimously refusing to vote in favor of new taxes.

These new taxes, most likely to become law, such as the increased cigarette tax, increased car title fees and car rental tax, have received almost no democratic support as the law makers view them as regressive.

As such, Republicans will all but solely shoulder the credit, or blame, of the voter’s reaction to the new measures.

If this was not enough on the governor’s plate, he has also had to endure friendly fire from former Republican Congressman Spencer Bachus. The former Congressman recently crossed party lines by advocating that the state expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act so that the influx of federal dollars may ease the current financial crisis.

Governor Bentley, however, has stuck to his position that even with the federal government covering the majority of the expansion the state cannot afford the proposal.

Kevin Spann
Political Columnist

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