Questions linger after address

Published 8:59 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gov. Bob Riley showed Tuesday night he was not waiting on federal economic stimulus money to pull Alabama up.

Riley in his next-to-last State of the State address proposed tax credits to businesses that hire the unemployed. That would also apply to those that create jobs in the counties with the highest unemployment rates.

Watching the speech at times, it might have seemed Riley was going to look into the camera and mention Black Belt communities by name.

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Riley also called for a crackdown on ethics, a proposal that would require far more disclosure by politicians and give the State Ethics Commission subpoena power when complaints are lodged against public officials.

All good things, but we may see the hammer to drop when the governor recommends a state budget today.

There still remains the lingering problem of how to fund education and keep programs like reading and math initiatives in place. Such programs have put Alabama’s elementary school children in an unfamiliar place in recent years — ahead of the rest of the country.

This state has been an attractive gem to large companies, especially in the automotive industry.

But when the ripple effect of K-12 budget cuts makes its way up to the collegiate level, it is interesting to see how long our beauty lasts.