• 55°

Long-term solution won’t

provide short-term relief

Staff Editorial

March 19, 2001 10 PM

Our short-term solution for education got no fanfare from Troy State University professors and administrators who were quick to point our out short-sightedness and lack of ability to prioritize.

And there are plenty of ways to split the cuts that our state has decided to make in education throughout K-12, higher education and across non-educational expense accounts.

There are a lot of ways to handle the cuts and a lot of arguments on each side of the issue. Right now our state is struggling with this dilemma of finding a short-term solution which would certainly have to come quick in order to save education from fiscal devastation this year.

But there’s a continued reluctance on the part of state officials to engage in meaningful debate over long-term solutions. A proration special session designed to deal with the short-term woes would have been a great place and time to explore the issues and reach concensus on short- and long-term solutions.

Neither came.

What remains abundantly clear is the fact that tax reform is essential to fixing our state’s educational mess. And tax reform, in the form of constitutional amendments stacked on a constitution that has outlived its usefullness to the state, would be of little service.

What single function does our state government do that is more essential than providing sound schools in which we can educate our children? This one fact alone, considering the archaic tax structure we use to fund education, makes a profound case for our need for a new constituton.

Add this issue to the many dozens of others that have come up in recent years and that have been thrown at our state Supreme Court. Our constitution is so old and outdated that our justices find themselves of enacting legislation to cover constitutional gaps that they are forced to intrepret under law.

We must fix our tax structure, whether it’s through shifting the taxes used to fund education to other areas so that stable numbers can be determined, or it’s through overall tax increases. We cannot continue to poorly educate our children.

Ultimately, the best solution of all is a new constitution. And though new tax structures and a new constitution won’t help us overcome our short-term educational shortfall, they will ensure that we protect future generations of Alabamians who are educated in our public school systems from ignorance.  

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