Congressman Riley, I believe that our education system needs more money. Now I have a plan that would raise more than $2 billion over a period of ten years. An education lottery will raise well over $2 billion in a ten year period.
You said that you will fight the lottery with every ounce of strength and resolve in your body. Then you said and I quote, "When election day comes we will put the lottery to death once and for all." Congressman, why do you oppose an education lottery?
Governor, it's a simple answer and I think Ronald Reagan summed it up best. When Reagan said, 'I want to build an economy based on the strengths of its people, not on their weaknesses.' And I think that's what a lottery does. I think a lottery, and I think there's a different plan out there Governor, if you will go to our web site tonight we go into specific detail about how we want to reform education, how we want to reform the Department of Education. We go through and explicitly tell about what we want to do. Governor there is a different way to run Montgomery.
The way we've been doing it for the last 20 or 30 years is not working. You're going to have to change the systems and models that allow us to determine priorities and assess needs. Today in Alabama, we earmark 90 cents of every dollar. Georgia earmarks six, South Carolina 17.
Both have lotteries.
The national average is 22. And you sit here and want to continue the old status quo and say that eventually everything will work out. It won't. The people of Alabama have said they do not want a lottery. The people of Alabama have said time and time again they don't want more taxes. The only thing that you've proposed in your plan is something that has already been voted down by the people time and time again.
I thought I had defeated Fob James in 1998, but Fob Riley is coming up with the same old stuff Fob did. He thinks you can tighten the belt and move things and un-earmark money and somehow you're going to create more money. A lottery generates hope for children, a lottery gives them a chance to get a higher education. A lottery gives them the tools they need to learn better. Right now, Georgia and Florida and other states are benefiting from Alabama's money. It does not make sense to me to give other children a chance to do better than our kids here in Alabama.