State’s constitution a leaking boat

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 1, 2002

Sometimes a leaking boat can simply be repaired. But when the hull is riddled with leaks, it is time to start off from scratch.

Gov. Don Siegelman believes this lesson wholeheartedly. And Siegelman is leading the charge for a new Alabama Constitution.

The reason is simple – the current one is filled with leaks. The leaks take a number of forms, but tax loopholes are perhaps the most troubling and are Siegelman’s biggest ammo against critics of a constitutional convention.

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On Wednesday, Siegelman said in 2000, loopholes in the state’s tax law cost Alabama dearly, adding that more than 619 companies with a total $850 million in income paid no tax. None!

In perhaps the most glaring example, the governor said one company, a $1.2 billion firm, had $430 million in sales, but did not pay a penny into the state’s Education Trust Fund.

"We’ve got million dollar corporations who are not paying as much as Dreamland Barbecue. The people who make the least, pay the most. The people who make the most, pay the least," Siegelman said. The governor’s logic makes perfect sense to us. And, remember, the tax loopholes are only one reason for creating a new constitution.

Alabama’s boat is like a sieve, and the state needs to simply scrap it and build a new one for the future.  

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