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Governor's tax plan to top ballot

By By TIM REEVES, Special to The Standard
MONTGOMERY -- Gov. Bob Riley may not have had a well-defined plan during last year's gubernatorial election, but his $1.2 billion tax and accountability plan, scheduled to go before voters on Sept. 9, has sure made up for it.
Since unveiling his plan weeks ago -- a plan designed to offset an expected $675 million state budget shortfall -- opposition has been intense and alternatives have been few. But, one rumored alternative is drawing harsh words from Riley.
Reports have indicated that members of the Alabama Legislature leadership have already been working on a tax increase if voters vote down Riley's plan. And, that tax increase would be able to be approved by the Alabama House and Senate without voter approval.
Riley said it is upsetting to him to see opposition groups using the argument that any new money raised by Riley's tax plan would not be regulated and would be spent by Montgomery "bureaucrats."
During his March 4, 2003 State of the State Address, Riley said he would "not entertain the idea of additional taxes until we reform the policies and practices that have created the problem we face today" -- a statement the Tax Accountability Coalition, a group formed to oppose Riley's plan has used as ammunition.
The last day to register for the September 9 vote is Friday, August 29.