Lawmakers face tough decisions

Published 4:06 am Wednesday, February 4, 2009

By Staff
The state Legislature convened its regular session yesterday, but the real work begins today, as lawmakers struggle to make ends meet for budgets and programs affected by the same economic downturn that is affecting all of our pocketbooks.
As state Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, said last week, the state will probably have to tighten its belt several notches as it looks for ways to cope.
We don't envy the position that legislators are in - they will be scrutinized for every decision, and no choice will be easy.
But we hope that education remains at the top of their lists for careful decisions, and we hope they consult not only with state department officials but also with local school districts about which money and which programs are important.
Lawmakers are likely hoping for some kind of windfall from the proposed economic stimulus package that has passed the U.S. House and is being debated in the Senate.
But while passage in some form looks likely, we can't count on that money - and we certainly can't rely on it forever.
Just as all of us are making do with less at home, our lawmakers are going to do the same.
We pray they make wise choices and focus on the most vulnerable of our citizens and the most vital of our programs.
We also hope they use their time for careful debate and not for squabbling.
Now is not the time for pet projects or petty politics.