Wednesday, December 14, 2005
On this day:

Riley: Give surplus $$ back to the people

The Governor hasn't provided many details as of yet, but he says that any surplus in the Education Trust Fund next year should go back to the taxpayers - presumably in the form of a tax cut or a tax rebate. Maybe he looks at this as penance for supporting Amendment One a few years ago - I dunno.

If the Governor is serious, and I hope that he is, then he should focus his attention on increasing the threshold for paying state income taxes and indexing it to inflation. Alabama families currently pay income tax on every dollar they earn above $4,600. That is the lowest income tax threshold in the nation. If it were raised, then every family in Alabama would get a tax cut; percentage-wise, those with the lowest incomes would benefit the most. What's not to like?

A similar reform was actually proposed as part of Amendment One back in 2003, but it was coupled with huge tax increases that were overwhelmingly rejected by the voters. Now, with the rapid growth of state revenues fueled by a resurgent economy, it is possible to enact it without the need for offsetting tax increases. This is one tax reform that liberals and conservatives can agree on. So, get it done, guys - we've got shopping to do.