Or at least what one looks like when you have a $200 million plus shortfall and no accounting tricks left to fill the gap. It’s not a pretty picture:
- The closure of all the state’s parks. All of them. Budgets passed by the Alabama legislature would have closed every Alabama state park had it not been vetoed by Governor Bentley. Granted, you can only go to the park well once, and it would have a tremendous negative impact on Alabama’s economy. But apparently legislators would rather do that than consider any tax increase.
- The elimination of Medicaid. A budget passed by the Alabama House would have cut Medicaid so severely that it would have meant the elimination of matching federal dollars, which would in turn lead to the end of the program itself. The Alabama Senate voted this one down. However, it is interesting that some legislators would rather eliminate healthcare for children, the disabled, the elderly, etc. than consider removing tax abatements for the logging and coal industries. After all, when has a sick kid ever hired anyone?
- The closure of all but four driver license offices. But I’m sure going from 76 offices to 4 will not impact the drive to the office nor the length of lines at the offices in any way. Probably won’t do anything to discourage people from getting driver licenses. Not at all. (Though considering the state’s voter identification laws, discouraging people from getting driver licenses may be considered a feature, not a bug, by some.)Besides, better that than raising the lowest property taxes in the nation (by far, you could double property taxes and the taxes would still be lowest in the nation). After all, a tax of $8,400 on $1 million of property seems about right, right?
But the fact of the matter is that you can’t cut $200 million from the budget without hurting people, it’s just a matter of who and how many. It doesn’t seem like they want to do that. But they don’t want to raise revenue either (and no, GoFundMe accounts don’t count!) So it seems that the Alabama government is at an impasse. They only have until October 1st to solve this puzzle, otherwise presumably the government will shut down entirely.