MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The time has come for decisions from our governor and Alabama lawmakers as they stare straight into the abyss that is our 2015 general fund budget -- a general fund budget beginning in October next year that looks to have a budget gap of some $265 million, according to our governor.
Alabama's general fund supports state programs such as child development and protection, criminal justice, conservation efforts, economic development, public health and safety, mental health, Medicaid, legislative activities and the court system. A funding shortage for any one of these programs would pose serious problems for all Alabamians, but think about the collective issues our state will be faced with as all will be asked provide even more with less in the coming fiscal year.
We shouldn't be surprised when we hear our legislative leaders offer out one of the recurring solutions of a leaner Alabama government. We're all for that, but we're not going to uncover $265 million with cuts and oh by the way, we expect our government to operate efficiently anyway.
Governor Bentley recently said that a lottery and a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians were up for discussion, but that was not his preferred way to fill a budget void.
Governor, I respectfully challenge you to come up with any other solution. This is a revenue issue, plain and simple. Revenue provided to our state via taxes alone is not enough to keep pace with costs. We need to create a state lottery system, legalize and regulate gambling or raise taxes. While you may not to decide to do all, we can ill afford to not do any. The time has come for you to decide.