Accountability measures profit all Alabamians

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 19, 2003

The inclusion of accountability measures in Gov. Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax proposal makes sense, and gives Alabamians much food for thought.

While much of the "accountability" portion of the proposal deals with education reform, several important issues were addressed - among them a revamping of the tenure that school administrators receive, and dismissal procedures for tenured faculty.

Another area that the governor's proposal addresses is what he terms "pass-through pork."

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Ending an age-old practice whereby legislators can hide pet projects within an agency's budget can only be a positive step toward shedding the light on the state's budgetary process.

The proposal would prohibit public funds from being passed from an agency at the direction of a legislature for a purpose not specified in the annual budget.

An agency director who participates in a pass-through project of this type would be subject to criminal penalty, and any legislator seeking such an arrangement would be reported to the governor by an agency head.

The Sept. 9 referendum presents Alabama voters with a unique opportunity to make state officials more accountable.