Riley: Tax Plan Was Too Complex

Governor Bob Riley
Governor Bob Riley

Taking a look back on the defeat of his tax and accountability package, Governor Bob Riley says he has one regret -- "It was a little too complex," he says. And one of the plan's biggest boosters, teacher lobbyist Paul Hubbert, agrees.

Hubbert says it took him 30 minutes to cover all parts of the package when he made a speech. Hubbert compared it to "pulling up the hood of the car and trying to understand it. It's too complicated."

One of the plan's chief opponents, Christian Coalition state president John Giles, says Riley had many problems besides his plan's complexity. Giles tells The Associated Press that one of Riley's biggest mistakes was running on a no-tax platform and then turning around one day and shocking all of Alabama and his allies with a $1.2 billion tax plan.

Alabama voters rejected Riley's plan by a two-to-one margin in a statewide referendum September Ninth. Without the new tax revenue, the Legislature convened in special session to cut the appropriations for many state programs, eliminate most textbook purchases, and ready the state for the early release of more than five thousand prisoners.

Hubbert and some other proponents of Riley's plan haven't given up hope for new taxes. They expect the Legislature to consider some when it meets again in February. Riley is giving no indication whether he will be among those proposing tax increases in February, saying: "I don't know that we will come up with any."

Alabama Associated Press