Shortfall shows need for new constitution

Published 5:43 pm Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An announcement released Wednesday by the state exemplifies the need for a new constitution in this state.

State Education Superintendent told Alabama’s 131 school districts Wednesday that the Education Trust Fund only has enough cash to pay 75 percent of this month’s allocation for payroll.

Morton has said the state might have enough cash by Nov. 7 to give school systems enough money to make up the difference. But for now, school systems will have to dig into their savings or borrow the money from banks.

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One has to wonder if the Alabama Constitution didn’t have such a regressive tax structure and if the constitution did not require excessive earmarking of state tax revenues, if our school systems would have to seek loans or take from their savings accounts to make payroll?

This state has extremely low property taxes, which means the state relies heavily on sales taxes.

It’s ironic the Alabama Education Association has continually failed to support a constitutional convention — afraid it will lose the earmarks that guarantee income and sales tax to the Education Trust Fund.

Now that the economy has gone downhill, where is the other argument?

Alabama must not turn to management by crisis. It’s time to take a stand before too many other months pass and our state can’t pay the teachers and administrators in its 131 school systems.

It’s time for a constitutional convention — way past time.