In the end ALEA successfully positioned this bill with House members as something it was not – a current year budget cut. I maintain that a fee increase imposed in February should have no impact on current Fiscal Year (FY) budgeting; we are in the 7th month of the 2015 budget. The FY 2016 budget is only now being debated.
As I’ve stated before, this legislation was about ensuring the voice of the people was heard in the process. A fee increase of some degree is likely warranted but the debate should be done in the open were the people’s voice is represented. Committee members Representatives Thomas Jackson (D), Dickie Drake (R), Chris England (D), Tommy Hanes (R), Mary Moore (D), Connie Rowe (R), Harry Shriver (R), Allen Treadaway (R) and Issac Whorton (R) vote no – that is 6 Republicans and 3 Democrats that willfully voted to silence the people’s voice today.
I maintain it is a travesty that the voice of the people is now silent on a $12.7M fee increase. By their vote these committee members just “green lighted” fee increases by any department or agency in state government.
What should keep you up tonight? Now that these House members have turned the “green light” on, what other czar like unilateral fee increase is coming and who in the legislature is willing to stand in the gap and ensure a representative of the people is heard in the process? Obviously for some members it is easier to tell folks back home that they didn’t raise the fee, it was done by the department through existing legislation. That’s the easy route. I don’t do easy, I do what’s right.
I will continue to fight the good fight in Montgomery – fighting for a government of the people, by the people, for the people; ensuring the people’s voice is heard. I hope I can count on others to stand in the gap with me.
Semper Fi - Bill