Editorial: "Balancing Act"

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A couple of weeks ago we learned that the $50 million dollars of Alabama's portion of the national tobacco settlement, which before now was tied up in court, is now destined for our state. Good news, right?  Well yes, but not everyone is as happy as they once thought they would be.

We're specifically speaking about Alabama's Children First Foundation.   An organization set up to advocate and ensure children's issues are a top priority with policymakers and political leaders in our state.  Children First was to receive $22 million dollars of the $50 million dollars held up, but that has now been diverted back into Alabama's General Fund.

Word on the street is this money is needed to bolster our state's prison system - which by the way could certainly use some help. But, when are we not going to put ourselves in a position as a state where we have to prioritize between children and prisoners?  When are we going to start balancing a budget without robbing from Peter to pay Paul?  When are we going to realize and have the political will and fortitude to make a case for additional revenue streams in our state?

Alabama's fiscal teeter totter has cost children's programs $22 million dollars this time around.  I dare guess what program or programs are next if anticipated tax revenues don't meet projections.

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