Voters need to get all the facts about tax vote

Published 10:38 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

By Staff
Sunday was probably not the first time that Gov. Riley used those words in an attempt to sell his tax reform package. Escambia County residents who attend the public meeting on Aug. 7 at Flomaton High School will probably hear the same line from Riley, and his supporters.
That's what John Rice, speaking in opposition to the plan, said at the same meeting last week, and his words, and sentiment, are shared by most Alabamians, according to recent polls.
The next month will feature each of those messages, shared over and over, as supporters on both sides of the issue work to spread their message to the voters of this state.
Both sides agree that there will be a shortfall in next year's state budget. What the sides don't agree upon is the best method to bridge that gap. As voters, we are being called upon to decide which approach is best; the plan the governor has laid out or a stop-gap method the legislature will be forced to employ if that plan fails at the ballot box.
As voters, the most important thing we can do over the next five weeks is to objectively learn as much as we can about the situation, and the proposals to fix it. We need to get as many facts about the governor's package that we can, to listen to alternatives that may result if it fails and then to make an informed decision about the future of our state.
Over the next several weeks we will attempt to present both sides of the argument in an objective light before endorsing one plan or the other. It is our hope that as readers, you will follow the series, ask questions that go unasked or unanswered and then form your own opinion.
The polling results indicate that a majority of voters do not understand the package, or the impact it will make on them personally. Perhaps the governor has failed to make his point, or maybe the media has not effectively shared the information.
Whatever the case, in our view, the issue at hand is too important for quick reactions and judgements. Both sides agree that difficult decisions lie ahead. The most difficult of those will be made by each of us as we fill in our ballot on September 9.

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