Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Alabama Governor Bentley demonstrates fiscal incompetence

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 1, 2013

Part of the Great Hypocrisy of Alabama‘s über GOP-dominated state government is that on September 18, 2012, voters approved the Governor’s request to take money from the Alabama Trust Fund using the specific language in the Special Election to Amend the state’s Constitution “to provide adequate funding for the State General Fund budget”… “by transferring funds from the Alabama Trust Fund to the State General Fund beginning with the state’s 2012-2013 fiscal year and concluding with the state’s 2014-2015 fiscal year.”

It’s equally important to understand and know, that the time of the election, however, there was no repayment plan, and only recently has the legislature acted, and has the governor signed, to repay any monies taken.

And now, the Governor wants to TAKE $6 Million earmarked for the State Parks and put it into the General Fund.

It’s prima facie evidence of utter incompetency, pure & simple.

More to the point, however, specifically regarding any contract with private entities to operate any private enterprise on public property, it seems to me that such an operation is also prima facie evidence of incompetency because to do so says in essence that ‘we’re not capable, nor do we have the ability to operate any operation profitably.’ And that, my friends, is a most damning indictment.

It’s bad not only for that reason, but because since private enterprise holds the key to the operations, they can call the shots, and raise the prices (cost of operations) at will, by merely citing an increase in cost of operations (without justification or evidence). And then, the state is left holding the contractual bag, while the private entity claims squatter’s rights on public property.

Gov. Robert Bentley says Gulf convention center a key to help parks survive funding cuts

By Mike Cason | mcason@al.com
March 27, 2013 at 10:39 PM, updated March 28, 2013 at 7:02 AM

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday he hopes to help minimize the effect of funding cutbacks on the state parks system.

Bentley’s budget plan for fiscal 2014 called for taking $6 million earmarked for state parks and placing that money in the General Fund.

This week, State Parks Director Gregory Lein wrote a letter to elected officials and others saying some parks could close and employees could lose jobs because of state funding cuts and a downturn in revenue from park users.

“The administration is working with the department on potential solutions,” Bentley said in a statement. “We want to minimize the impact in any way possible. The state’s General Fund is still seeing the effects of the nationwide downturn in the economy, and during difficult financial times, we all must find ways to reduce spending.”

Lawmakers are working on the budget for fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1.

Over the last two years, about $12 million that had been earmarked for state parks has been transferred to the General Fund. The governor’s proposal would have continued that for a third year.

The state Senate approved a substitute budget that instead moved $7.8 million from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to the General Fund. State parks are one of the programs that operate under Conservation and Natural Resources.

That budget plan has gone to the House of Representatives. Passage of the two state budgets will be the main task awaiting the Legislature when it returns from spring break on Tuesday.

In his statement Wednesday, the governor said a key to helping state parks is to increase revenue generated by the parks.

“For example, we would like to develop our state park at Gulf Shores to include a lodge that can accommodate conventions and large meetings that currently cannot be accommodated on the Alabama Gulf Coast,” Bentley said. “Instead of people having to go to other states for those gatherings, we want them to come to our coast. This will help promote tourism in the area, along with additional jobs and additional revenue to support our parks.”

Last month, the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee approved a bill that would allow the state to partner with a private developer to build a hotel and convention center on beachfront property at Gulf State Park. Hurricane Ivan destroyed the Gulf State Park lodge in 2004.

That bill would still have to pass the House and Senate to become law.


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