Tim James Takes a StandBy
Tim James is the son of former governor Fob James, and was himself a Republican candidate in the last election.
One day during the primary he came to Huntsville, along with the other two candidates, to address the Republican Mens Club at breakfast. (Menu: dry scrambled eggs, somewhat-cooked grits, and strong coffee.)
Steve Windom gave an altogether credible speech. It was pleasant and intelligible, and he delivered it well. With Bob Riley there was less than met the eye. What we saw was a man blessed with charisma, good looks, and confidence. But what could have escaped the relaxed listener was the emptiness of his speech. Candidate Riley said nothing, and he did it extremely well.
Then there was Tim James. He spoke in sentences that were terse, concrete and designed to communicate. A listener was left with no doubt as to where he stood. For forthrightness he took first place.
Today James is forthright again. In a letter to Republicans he has taken a stand on the Hubbert-Riley Tax Plan. He's against it. "I ask you as Republicans, but more importantly, as Alabamians to reject this ill advised [Hubbert-Riley Tax Plan]," he writes.
"Our Party is at a crossroads," he continues. "From this turmoil, a unified party can emerge, but only if we hold true to our belief that government should be limited and fiscally responsible." Further, "If we remain silent, the difference between the parties will be blurred for generations…."
Such boldness of speech may help Tim James in any future political initiatives he may undertake. Or, politics being the fickle thing it is, it may hurt him. But what is defnite is that it removes him from the pool of ordinary politicians for whom evasiveness is a virtue, and clarity a weakness.
You will find Tim James' full letter below.
Mr. Hugh Mclnnish
2508 Box Canyon Rd
Huntsville, AL 35803
I write you today concerning one of the most serious issues facing this state in my lifetime. In less than three weeks, the people of Alabama. will go to the polls and accept or reject the largest tax increase in Alabama's history.
I ask you, as Republicans, but more importantly, as Alabamians to reject this ill-advised action.
The proponents of this tax tell us the 1.2 billion dollar tax increase will propel our state to the top of this nation in every category, they promise that Alabama will be an "Educational Mecca" to be envied by the rest of the country.
I struggle to understand how this can be true.
Over the past five years, revenue in Alabama has continued to climb, while student numbers have dropped. In the last decade, revenue into our state coffers has outpaced inflation twofold. On average, our teachers' salaries are on par with salaries in other southern states.
If you get your information from Alabama's largest newspapers, you might not know this. But, I urge you to check the facts for yourself.
In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared an "unconditional war on poverty." He launched what was to be the largest failed social experiment in American history, known as "The Great Society." The proposed tax increase in Alabama is eerily similar. The Montgomery Advertiser calls it "the first sweeping progressive proposal in Alabama in years." This "progressive" program is nothing less than Alabama's own "Great Society." LBJ's massive spending programs set out to eliminate poverty; it did not work. The proponents of this new tax promise that, if passed, it will create an "Education Utopia." We know that it will not.
One fundamental truth is that money in the hands of government rarely bares fruit. Fortunately, the architects of Alabama's 1901 constitution understood government's appetite for spending other people's money; to their credit, they protected future generations by requiring that tax increases be voted on by the people; We should thank God for this.
Our party is at a crossroads. From this turmoil, a unified party can emerge, but only if we hold true to our belief that government should be limited and fiscally responsible. If we remain silent, the differences between the two parties will be blurred for generations and the advances made by the Republican Party in recent years will be lost. Therefore, again I ask you to join me by votinq "No" on this tax - sending a resounding message that we will not withdraw from our core conservative principles.
The tax vote is fast approaching and I am confident it will be defeated. I want to alert you, however, to another concern I have. After the September 9th tax referendum, the same crowd promoting this tax will launch their second campaign. They will tell us that the state remains in dire financial straits, that things are getting worse everyday, and that survival depends on new revenue. I believe their new revenue sources will be gambling, casinos and the rest. Expect a push by organized gambling interests that will be unlike anything we have seen before; their funding sources will have no limits. We must resist this likelihood as strongly as we do the tax proposal on the table today.
I ask you to be vigilant, to listen, and to learn for yourself what is going on in Montgomery. First, we must win this tax battle, then we must prepare for even larger battles that are sure to come.
We should let nothing shift our great state off her noble course.