Old issues need resolving

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 9, 2003

Alabama legislators will go to work this year with a $500 million shortfall and an archaic state Constitution. So what’s new? Revenue shortfalls - particularly in education - and debate over constitutional reform have plagued this state for more than half a century. In 1947, newly elected Gov. Jim Folsom vowed to address constitutional reform during his administration. Almost 60 years later, Governor-elect Bob Riley faces the same issue. And, unfortunately, the 1901 Constitution has grown much more unweidly since Folsom’s days. Riley will bring a businessman’s perspective to the governor’s office. It’s the approach that brought him success in the U.S. House of Representatives and that garnered the support of the majority of Alabama’s voters last fall. But whether Riley is able to effectively bring about the changes necessary to bring more efficiency to Alabama’s government and more stability to its funding will depend in large part on the willingness of the democratically controlled Legislature to work with the new Republican governor. For now, lawmakers are offering support - saying they are ready to work with the new governor. We hope that spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation will hold true, even as decisions become tough and issues such as restructuring taxes raise their head. We expect Gov. Riley will benefit from the momentum of President

Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress. But how much of that momentum carries over to Alabama remains to be seen. Afterall, it’s time our lawmakers moved on to new issues

and that won’t happen until they resolve the 60-year-old ones.

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