Governor Riley, man of the Left

Sadly, as expected, Alabama voters rejected Governor Bob Riley’s proposal to shift some of the state’s tax burden from the poor to the rich.

Opponents of the plan appeared successful in blurring the distinction between a general “tax increase” and a fairer tax system.

…With state reserve funds mostly depleted by the first three years of large shortfalls, analysts have said the only alternatives to tax increases are large spending cuts in basic services such as public schools, higher education, corrections and Medicaid.

“This is a shot across the bow for next year’s decision-making,” said Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, who made defeat of Riley’s proposal a cause of conservative, anti-tax groups. “Every Republican governor who thinks of raising taxes next year will walk past Traitor’s Gate and see Bob Riley’s head on a pike…”

I wish the media had devoted at least half as much attention to the Alabama referendum as they did to the ridiculous Ten Commandments brouhaha. I wish liberals and African-American leaders had grasped the importance of of the issue and acted accordingly. I wish President Bush, who has been busy cutting federal taxes while most states raise taxes or cut services, had put in a good word for Governor Riley’s plan. I wish Oliver Kamm would stop calling Bush a “man of the Left” and instead apply that label to a conservative Republican more deserving of it: Governor Bob Riley of Alabama.