Education funding needs resolution

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2001

A "6." That’s how one Alabama lawmaker ranked the efforts to reach a compromise on generating $160 million to fund the state’s education system.

And, while that number is somewhat reassuring, it’s still not a "10." And that’s what we’ll need to resolve this funding quagmire.

As state legislators prepare to return to their special session on Thursday, voters across the state are wondering just what outcome we’ll face.

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Gov. Don Siegelman’s plan, which generates the $160 million needed largely from corporate taxes and business taxes, is widely supported by educators. It’s strongly opposed by businesses.

Yet, lawmakers have offered few up-front alternatives or revisions. Negotiations to hammer out a compromise are taking place in closed, negotiation sessions, and details on the compromises are slim. We know only from Tuesday’s reports that negotiators have added oil and gas interests to the list of funding sources and that, as Rep. Richard Lindsey said, we’re only at a "6."

We’re ready to reach that 10 and to resolve this debate.  

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