Sweet Home Politics

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017   |   Español

Author Archives: Craig Ford

  1. The Greatest Joy and Responsibility A Man Can Have (Craig Ford)

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    There is no doubt that God has been good to me. I have received so many blessings in my life, but none have been better or more rewarding than being a father.

    With all the responsibilities a person can have today, being a parent is by far the most important in significant, and it is a responsibility that I take more seriously than anything else I do. Whatever else I may do in life, being a father and husband will always come first.

    And that is a value I learned from my own father. I would not be the man, the husband or the father I am today were it not for my dad.

    My dad was always a busy man. Between his career in public education, his military service and his time in the legislature, my dad had a lot of demands on his time. But he never let any of that get in the way of being a father. Being a father was always his number one priority.

    My dad was always there for me, looking out for my best interests even when I wasn’t.

    When I went to college and my grades started to slip, my dad pulled me out of school and put me to work at the Gadsden Goodyear plant. He and those men at that plant straightened me out real quick, and I learned that I could either get busy working or get busy getting an education. So when I got the chance to go back to school, I didn’t waste it.

    My dad also taught me that a man always repays his debts. That first year of college when my grades slipped was not cheap, and my dad made me pay him back every cent he spent on me that year.

    And paying my dad back led me to make another life-altering decision: to join the military. My dad had always taught me the value of service and the need to give back to our country and our community. Like my dad, I chose to give back by joining the Army Reserve and later the Alabama National Guard, where I spent 14 years as a tank commander.

    My military service allowed me to give back to my country and repay my dad for the money he spent on my education.

    My dad’s commitment to service is what led him to serve in the state legislature. Pops loved Etowah County and Alabama. Outside of his family, his greatest joy in life was serving our community and helping those in need. Because he instilled those values in me, I also chose to run for the legislature after he passed away.

    My dad had a greater impact on my life than he ever knew when he was alive. I am so fortunate to be his son and to have learned the lessons he has taught me. There were three moments in my life that I wanted to share with my dad: the birth of my children, for him to pin my lieutenants bars on my uniform when I was commissioned an officer in the Army and to see me elected to the Legislature. I am grateful that he was there for the first two, and I know he got to see the third from Heaven.

    My dad influenced my life in so many ways. I would not be the man I am today were it not for him. He taught me what it means to be a father, and I have tried to follow his example as I have raised my own children.

    I hope all of the dads reading this have had a great Fathers’ Day! Being a dad is the greatest joy and responsibility a man can have. We are blessed to have so many good fathers in our community and throughout Alabama. Happy Fathers’ Day to you all!

  2. State Leaders Singing A Different Tune Now That The Tables Have Turned (Craig Ford)

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    My how the tables have turned.

    Four years ago, Republican politicians in Montgomery were applauding Republican prosecutors for investigating public corruption in the bingo trials – an investigation that led to exactly zero convictions.

    Now these same Republican politicians are claiming that politics is behind the investigation into their own corruption, and that the investigation is nothing more than an attempt to influence the outcome of this year’s elections.

    Never mind the fact that the prosecutors investigating the corruption are also Republicans. Never mind the fact that one former state legislator has already taken a plea deal while another lied to a grand jury about threats he made in a recorded phone call.

    In 2010 – which was also an election year – Republican leaders went to the press and stated, “…there’s going to be indictments. I think it’s going to happen. I don’t think they would have invested this much time and energy investigating it if there’s not something to it.”

    Now that these same politicians are the ones being investigated, they’ve changed their tune.

    Instead of praising the prosecutors for their attempts to clean up the corruption, Republican leaders are now claiming these investigations are “political,” and an attempt to undermine the upcoming elections.

    This blatant hypocrisy reminds me of when Sen. Shadrack McGill (R-Scottsboro) tried to claim that educators did not deserve a pay raise but legislators did. McGill actually tried to argue that raising teachers’ pay would attract people who were not called to teach, but raising legislators’ pay was necessary to attract better people to run for office.

    Or when Sen. Phil Williams tried to provide pay raises for educators with nine years or less experience while veteran educators would get nothing (which is an insane proposal that is a slap in the face to all educators), but then voted to cut all educators’ pay by 2.5 percent during his first year in office.

    And even just last week Republican legislators fully embraced hypocrisy after a court ruled their signature legislation, the Accountability Act, is unconstitutional.

    When the ruling came down, Republican legislators across the state flocked to the press to claim the decision was political because the judge was a Democrat. Then they immediately turned around and claimed the decision would be overturned once it was appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court because that court has no Democrats on it.

    Do they not hear themselves? Do they honestly believe the voters are not smart enough to catch them?

    Republicans swept the 2010 elections on a platform of cleaning up the corruption in Montgomery. But instead, they immediately embraced the culture of corruption. Now they are the ones being prosecuted – by Republican prosecutors.

    Our state leaders are masters of the politics of distraction. They know they cannot win re-election if they campaign on their record. So they are trying to change the subject. They do not want to talk about education and how they have devastated our schools. So instead they talk about President Obama.

    If Republican leaders could have done anything about President Obama don’t you think they would have by now?

    And if they get called out for their corruption, they just blame it on “politics.”

    Hillary Clinton used to talk about a “vast right wing conspiracy.” Now Republicans in the Alabama legislature are claiming they are being attacked by a “vast left wing conspiracy.”

    Do they not hear themselves? Do they not see their hypocrisy? Or maybe they believe they can say and do whatever they want without any consequences? After all, that is what they did when the passed the Accountability Act. And that is why it was ruled unconstitutional.

    It is amazing to see the transformation in our state leaders. My how the tables have turned!

  3. A Day of Remembrance (Craig Ford)

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    John 15:13 reads, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Thousands of men and women in the United States Armed Forces have not only given their life for their friends, but for all of us. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those men and women who lost their lives for our great nation.

    Far too many Americans have heard the unforgettable notes coming from the bugle or trumpet. These notes are etched in many of our hearts and minds forever. Every time I hear Taps play I am reminded of those men and women who gave their all for our country.  I hurt for the widowed wives and husbands, the fathers and mothers who lost their child, and for the children who have to grow up without their parent. They should never be forgotten. We must remember our fallen every day, not just one day out of the year.

    Today, our men and women in the Armed Forces are spread across the globe. Every day they wake up without knowing what the day holds for them, they put on their boots, strap on their gear, and walk into the unknown and into danger .Not one day is promised to any of us. I have so much pride in our country because of the men and women who so selflessly serve and defend her every day. They make me proud to be an American.

    I served fourteen years in the Army Reserve and the Alabama National Guard as a tank commander. I had the honor and privilege of serving alongside some of the most loyal and faithful men and women I have ever met. I am truly humbled by serving our great country.  All of us gave some, but some gave all. The men and women who serve and protect our country are among the most courageous people on the face of the earth. Billy Graham said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” As a fellow American, former service member, and as an elected member of the Alabama House of Representatives, I try every day to follow the example of our servicemen and women. It is a calling, an honor, and a great responsibility.

    It is of the utmost importance that we all stand strong and firm behind the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces. They sacrifice their time with their families and risk their lives for us all each and every day; asking nothing in return. They deserve far more than they are given, and deserve our respect and unwavering support.

    Let us take the day to remember all those who have fallen. They have not died in vain. They are the true American heroes.  America is “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, but that comes at a great cost. Freedom is not free and bravery and courage is rare. Remember those we have lost, and thank all our men and women in uniform whenever you get a chance.

    “Falling night,

    Trumpet call, as the sun, sinks in flight

    Sleep in peace, comrades dear,

    God is near”—Taps

  4. A Call for Action (Craig Ford)

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    What if Etowah County and the 4th Congressional District had the same leadership in our congressional representative as they do in South Alabama?

    Last week, Congressman Bradley Byrne of Mobile made a strong, public stand for construction of a bridge on Interstate 10 over the Mobile River. The congressman called the project, “a national priority,” and warned that inaction would endanger public safety and economic development.

    How refreshing to see a congressman who gets it! Projects like this are essential to our economy. These projects create jobs almost immediately for the workers who build these roads and bridges. In the long-term, these projects facilitate commerce, which in turn allows businesses to expand and hire more employees.

    And just as Mobile and Baldwin counties will benefit from completing the work on I-10, Etowah County and North Alabama would benefit from completing the I-759 extension.

    Building the I-759 extension in Etowah County is just as much an economic development and public safety issue as Mobile’s I-10 project. With all of the congestion piling up on Meighan Boulevard, we need help from our congressman to put pressure on the federal government to provide relief to that area with the I-759 extension.

    We are already seeing the traffic congestion getting worse! And once the new shopping center development is complete, it will become too difficult for residents to get to and from work and for shoppers and visitors to travel throughout our county effectively – not to mention the enormous public safety issue it will cause due to increased traffic in the congested area.

    How is it that a freshman congressman can see that this is an issue for his district, but our 9-term congressman can’t provide any federal support for the issue in our district?

    Congressman Byrne said, “…all interested parties – including federal, state and local leaders as well as government and business interests – have a ‘common understanding’ of what needs to be done.” Here in North Alabama, our local delegation, community leaders, and business leaders all understand what needs to be done in our district. Now all we need is for our congressman to fill the gap with support from the federal government.

    I applaud Congressman Byrne for making a stand for his district. He looked the Federal Highway Administration in the eye and announced that he had “thrown a stick in the sand.” That is what leaders do. They do not sit in their offices in Washington and collect a paycheck at the taxpayers’ expense. They take action and demand results.

    How many textile mills closed and jobs have we lost because of the Central American Free Trade Agreement that our congressman not only voted for but cast the deciding vote? How many businesses have passed us over because of unfinished projects like I-759 that will continue to endanger our safety and economic development?

    As Congressman Byrne said: “We have an obvious problem. Why can’t we fix it? It’s my job as a congressman to fix that.” I only hope that Congressman Byrne’s leadership encourages our congressman to step up on behalf of his district as well!

  5. Congratulations Graduates! (Craig Ford)

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    I have always believed in the power and value of education. That is why I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all those who are graduating this month.
    Whether you are finishing high school, a vocational program or a college degree, you should be proud of how hard you have worked and what you have accomplished!
    Getting an education is a crucial step to achieving your other goals in life. As the saying goes: “Knowledge is power.” The more you learn, the more opportunities you will open for yourself. And there is no limit to where those opportunities can take you.
    You might choose to continue your education or to enter the workforce. Either way, you are now better prepared for the journey ahead. But with knowledge and opportunities comes responsibilities. As it says in the Bible, “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”
    Now more than ever, we need motivated individuals like you to become leaders in our communities. I am not just talking about political leaders, though we certainly need those too! But we need smart, talented leaders everywhere – from business to the church to politics and everything in between.
    Though things are improving, our economy is still struggling to grow and create jobs. As the new generation of leaders, you are in a unique situation. This may be the time for some enterprising person to start that new small business or to develop some new innovation.
    I encourage all of you to pursue your dreams. Because with hard work and a good education there is nothing you cannot do; no goal you cannot achieve.
    You have devoted years of your life to your education. You have worked hard – you may have even worked two or three jobs to pay your way through school – and now that hard work has paid off. You should be proud! You have earned the right to sit back and enjoy this moment.
    But when the celebrating is over and you turn your focus to what is next, remember what it took to get here: hard work and determination. Those values will benefit you no matter where life takes you next. Honesty, dependability and the quality of your work are three more characteristics that will take you far in business and in life.
    So enjoy this moment of victory. You have spent so much time and effort to get here, and you deserve to enjoy it! But your journey is only just beginning. Take the lessons you have learned along the way and apply them to whatever is next for you. Continue to work hard and stay focused and there is nothing you cannot achieve.
    Congratulations, graduates! And good luck!
  6. We Cannot Get Help If Our Leaders Do Not Ask For It (Craig Ford)

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    The storms that hit Etowah County and Alabama last week have left a devastating impact on our community. While the EMA is still working on a damage assessment, it is already clear that in Etowah County we have suffered far more damage than the required threshold to be declared a federal disaster area.

    In my opinion, if even one house or business takes damage, that should be enough for the state and federal government to get involved. We all pay our taxes, and that is what our tax money is for!

    But unfortunately, the governor has left Etowah county out of his initial request for federal aide, claiming that he would add us back after the president declares Alabama a federal disaster area.

    Even if the governor intends to add us to the list after the initial declaration, by leaving us out now he has delayed vital assistance that our people need right now!

    These storms had a terrible impact throughout our state, and everyone who has suffered should be included in the request for help. I don’t understand why the governor left Etowah County off his initial request, but I hope he will work with us now.

    I, and the other members of our state legislative delegation, have submitted a letter formally requesting Gov. Bentley immediately amend his application for an expedited declaration of Alabama as a disaster area to include Etowah County.

    I have also asked Gov. Bentley to personally come and tour the damaged parts of Etowah County. The governor needs to see with his own eyes what has happened here so he can see the extent of the damage and understand the need to expedite our request for help. Having the governor here would also reassure the people of Etowah County that he is doing everything that he can to get us the help we need.

    But the governor is not the only one we need to be working for us in Washington. Throughout all of this, I have not seen or heard from Congressman Aderholt or his office. And who could be a better advocate to the federal government for our community than our own congressman?

    While I understand that requesting aide is a process, I also believe in the old adage: “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” The only way we will get the help we need is if all of our representatives in Montgomery and Washington are out there calling on the government to step in and help out.

    One thing is certain: we cannot get help if we do not ask for it. And while this is an election year and there will be plenty of politicians blaming Obama for everything they can think of, these politicians cannot blame Obama if they never asked for the money in the first place!

  7. Powdered Alcohol is Dangerous and Should Be Outlawed in Alabama (Craig Ford)

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    Earlier this month, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau briefly granted approval to a new powdered form of alcohol. A couple of weeks later, the agency withdrew its approval, saying it was given in error.

    The incident brought powdered alcohol to the national media’s attention, as well as the attention of many parents and addiction experts. I believe Alabama needs to take pre-emptive action before this dangerous product gets final approval and starts showing up on store shelves across our state.

    Powdered alcohol, which works just like instant coffee or tea, is not a new product. It has been sold in stores throughout Japan, Germany and the Netherlands since the 1970s. But it has never been produced or sold inside the United States.

    There is a good reason for that!

    Parent groups and addiction experts have recently come out in strong opposition to approving powdered alcohol, concerned that the product will be easily obtained and abused by underage drinkers—particularly if an underage drinker were to snort it instead of mixing it first.

    Even the company that makes powdered alcohol has warned that snorting their product can get a person drunk almost instantly. This could easily lead to abuse and overdosing. Additionally, the chemicals used to turn the alcohol into a powder are some of the same elements found in things like detergent. Snorting that into your body cannot be healthy!

    At the same time, we do not know exactly how ingesting the powder without mixing it would affect the body. Would the body be able to break it down? If not, what affect would it have on the digestive track? Could it cause toxicity in the blood? These are questions we do not have answers to.

    Furthermore, powdered alcohol is highly portable and easy to conceal, which makes it easier for underage drinkers to sneak alcohol into places like schools, movie theaters or ball games. At one time, the website of the company that makes powdered alcohol actually recommended sneaking their product into concerts and sprinkling it on food.

    If the company is that irresponsible with their marketing, I cannot help but wonder how irresponsible they might be with their actual product!

    I have always believed that adults should be allowed to make their own decisions when it comes to drinking alcohol. That is why I fought for the right of our local voters to decide the issue of Sunday sales in Gadsden. But this issue is not about letting grown ups make their own choices. This is about public health and protecting our children.

    Powdered alcohol is a potentially dangerous substance that could potentially cause significant health problems, including addiction and overdosing. At the very least, the federal government needs to do a lot more research before allowing this product to be sold in American stores.

    I whole-heartedly believe that powdered alcohol is dangerous, and that state leaders need to take pre-emptive action to prevent powdered alcohol from being produced or sold in Alabama. As elected officials, we have a responsibility to protect public health and prevent dangerous products from being sold in Alabama stores. It is time for the state to take action!

  8. Jobs Should Be More Than Just A Campaign Slogan (Craig Ford)

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    “Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.”

    It’s an election year, and you have probably seen that campaign slogan on billboards and yard signs all across the state. But are we really creating jobs here in Alabama? Or is job creation just more election year rhetoric like the teacher pay raise?

    The news seems to be mixed at best. On the one hand, economists at the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research have recently predicted our state’s economy to grow slightly faster than expected – about 0.2 percent faster to be exact, at a rate of about 2.4 percent.

    That is hardly an economic boom. It is also nowhere near the 5.1 percent annual growth we averaged in the years prior to the recession.

    At the same time, our statewide unemployment rate has continued to climb. Now at 6.7 percent, our unemployment rate is the highest it has been in more than a year, and is only 2 percent less than what it was four years ago when the Republican Supermajority took control in Montgomery.

    Before the legislative session started, Alabama was ranked 49th in the country for job creation. In 2013, Alabama only added 300 new jobs. The reason for these terrible numbers is because for every job we create we also lose a job. And the jobs we are creating are not the good-paying jobs we are losing.

    Other than manufacturing, our highest job growth has been in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes hotel maids and fast-food workers. Those are honest, hard-working jobs. But they also rarely pay enough to provide for a family of four.

    Medicaid and food stamp enrollment have also been increasing lately. These are signs that we are not creating jobs like we should, and the jobs we are creating simply do not pay a livable wage.

    But even if the numbers and economists are wrong, ask yourself: If you lost your job today, would you feel comfortable looking for work in this economy?

    We do not need more broken promises and empty political rhetoric from our state leaders, senators and representatives. We need solutions.

    A good first step was increasing funding for dual enrollment. This was a priority for Democrats this year, and a central part of our legislative agenda. After we announced our agenda, the Republican leadership in the state legislature announced that they, too, would push for expanding dual enrollment. In the end, we passed an expansion bill, though we could have found a better way to pay for it so that it would not have cost our K-12 schools.

    But where we had success with dual enrollment, the legislature failed to pass other initiatives. For example, state leaders failed to increase funding for workforce development training.

    We also failed to pass the Job Creation and Taxpayer Protection Act, which would have required clawback provisions to be put in place on any economic incentive packages offered by the state. This would have saved the taxpayers millions of dollars and required businesses receiving the incentives to create a minimum number of jobs in exchange for the incentives.

    But it is not just that state leaders have failed to create jobs or pass job creation legislation. It is that they seem to be out of ideas.

    State leaders are constantly talking about jobs, but they never talk about the specifics of how they plan to create these jobs. All they ever talk about is forming committees to study the issue and offer advice. At some point, we need to stop studying and start taking action.

    And we do not need a committee to tell us what we already know works: investing in our infrastructure, as well as targeted tax incentives with reasonable clawback provisions and job commitments creates jobs in the short-term.

    In the long-term, we create jobs by investing in education and workforce development training. We have to give the people of Alabama the tools they need to be successful. At the same time, investing in infrastructure and education makes Alabama more attractive to potential employers looking for a place to move or open new facilities.

    The Republicans in the Alabama legislature love to talk about jobs. But if you were out of work today, would you feel comfortable looking for a job in this economy?

    Job creation should be a priority, and not just a campaign slogan.

  9. Deception, Broken Promises the Status Quo in Montgomery (Craig Ford)

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    Despite months of promising a pay raise for educators, it turns out all the governor’s talk was just that: more election year rhetoric.

    After four years of constant assaults on our public schools, this budget and the governor’s empty promises for a pay raise are just one more attack on education from the Republican Supermajority in Montgomery.

    Gov. Bentley made a commitment to educators. Not only did he promise a raise in his State of the State address, he and his staff continued to publicly make that promise throughout the legislative session.

    In a March 5th article from the Birmingham News titled “Gov. Robert Bentley won’t sign education budget without 2 percent raise, health insurance funding increase,” the governor’s spokeswoman, Rebekah Mason, told the press that the governor would send the budget back to the legislature if it did not include a raise and health insurance increase.

    After the session ended, the governor took over a week to decide if he would sign the budget. Now he has not only backed out of his promise to educators, but he is trying to rewrite history and claim he never made the promise to begin with.

    By playing games about vetoing the budget and calling a special session of the legislature, the governor is abusing the power of his office for political gain.

    The governor has led educators on for months about a pay raise, and this week he continued to do the same thing by saying he might call a special session in the summer or fall to pass a pay raise.

    There is no reason to delay calling a special session other than to allow Republican legislators time to campaign in their primaries and then come back this summer to try and win back educators’ votes before the general election.

    The governor is trying to protect anti-education Republican legislators in the primary elections. Because there are so many pro-education Republicans running this year, the governor did not want to force sitting representatives and senators to vote against a pay raise right before an election.

    The truth is that if the governor and Republican legislators won’t stand up for educators in an election year, then there is no reason to believe that they will stand up for educators during the next four years if re-elected. And that is why, in his speech explaining why he went back on his word, the governor only recognized three Republican senators for the one time in four years that they stood up for education instead of recognizing all the legislators—Republican and Democrat—who have supported educators over the past four years.

    Our children spend a third of their day at school. That time is spent with educators who are responsible for guiding them and preparing them for college and their career. Other than parents and preachers, no one has a greater impact on our children’s upbringing. If we want to recruit and keep the best and brightest educators then we have to offer competitive pay and benefits. But over the past four years, we have cut school budgets and taken resources and thousands of educators out of the classroom.

    The legislature cut 2.5 percent out of their pay checks and then gave 2 percent back, leaving educators making less today than they did four years ago. But worst of all, the Republican Supermajority has cut educators out of the conversation about school reform. We are passing radical laws, like the Accountability Act, that take millions of dollars out of our schools and not a single educator—not even the state’s Superintendent of Education—were included in the conversation.

    We cannot expect our schools to be successful and our educators to keep up morale if we constantly shut them out, cut their pay and deceive them with broken promises of pay raises. It is time for the governor and Republican legislators to be honest with educators and taxpayers, and stop playing political games with peoples’ income.

  10. Gov. Bentley Has One Last Chance to Make Things Right (Craig Ford)

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    Another legislative session has ended in Montgomery. And like most years, this session had its share of disappointments.

    While there were some positive things that came out of this legislative session, the $400 bonus and conditional 4 percent pay raise for state employees next year, as examples, the bad outweighed the good.

    Once again, legislative leaders refused to pass bills allowing the people to vote on a state lottery. A lottery could bring in hundreds-of-millions of dollars for our public schools and provide scholarships to our children. But the leadership in Montgomery continues to refuse to let the people of Alabama vote on the issue.

    The leadership also refused to allow a vote on legislation to provide additional funding for workforce development training and to put clawback provisions on tax incentives offered to businesses and corporations.

    It was disappointing to see the state House of Representatives pass legislation that doubles down on the failed Accountability Act. This bill would have removed the cap on tax credits for individuals and couples donating to scholarship organizations for private schools. The Accountability Act has already cost our public schools $40 million this year; it will cost us at least $25 million next year. What’s worse, is for all that money lost, only 52 kids transferred to private schools last year. Passing this bill would be like betting on the loser of the Super Bowl after the game has already been played. We know it is a losing bet! Thankfully, the bill was not passed by the state Senate.

    At the top of the list of setbacks is the legislature’s failure to pass a pay raise for educators and retirees.

    Gov. Bentley promised in his State of the State address to give educators a 2 percent raise, but the Republican Supermajority was never on board with the governor’s plan. From the beginning, the legislative leaders claimed there was not enough money for a 2 percent raise— that argument just doesn’t hold up.

    As the saying goes: where there’s a will, there’s a way. If legislative leaders had chosen to make educators’ pay a priority, then they would have put the pay raise in the budget first and then budgeted everything else around the raise.

    As the governor has said from the beginning, we know the money is there. Gov. Bentley proposed an education budget that not only provided a 2 percent raise but also fully funded the Public Education Employees’ Health Insurance Plan, PEEHIP.

    Legislative leaders have claimed that the governor paid for this raise by going around the spending cap created by the Rolling Reserve Act. These same legislative leaders also chose to go around the cap in their budget, so there is no legitimate reason for why we are not giving educators and retirees a 2 percent raise next year.

    Instead, the Republicans forced through the budget without a raise at the last minute and then ended the session so that the governor could not send the budget back with a pay raise amendment. Legislative leaders have done everything they could to avoid having to vote on a raise. Now the only option left is for the governor to veto the budget and call a special legislative session.

    It is ridiculous that it has come to this! Had the legislature simply passed the governor’s version of the budget, we could have avoided all of this. Now the governor must either keep his promise and call a special session or sign the budget without a raise and lose all of his credibility.

    There is no good outcome to this situation. But the governor must stand by his word and veto this budget. Educators were promised a raise. More importantly, they have earned one! If the governor backs down now he will lose his credibility. I hope Gov. Bentley will do the right thing and, for the sake of our educators and himself, keep his promise and demand a pay raise.