Kay's Answer: Absolutely! How can it be, particularly in a recession, that Montgomery politicians have the nerve to give away money to local festivals celebrating mules, sweet potatoes and space aliens? It's happening, and they're using your tax money to do it, too. Cutting "pork" spending out of our state's budgets is one of my top goals as Governor. One way to do it is to shine the light of day on the appropriation process. Let me give you an example.
I serve on the state's Executive Commission on Community Service Grants (ECCSG). I see hundreds of grant applications every year from legislators that sometimes don't even mention what the money is for, or how it would be spent. That's wrong and we shouldn't tolerate it! And we're not talking about chump change, either. In the 2010 fiscal year, these grants total $6.5 million. This is government at its worst: spending your tax money without accountability.
I understand useful community projects often require assistance from the state, especially in hard times. But when the state budget suffered 11% proration last year and is already facing 7.5% in education cuts this year, not every project can be helped---especially those that we aren't allowed to know anything about.
As I did in 2007, I proposed again this past September that the ECCSG:
* Change its rules to require all Community Service Grant requests be posted online at least 30 days before the Commission votes on them.
* Every grant request must tell (1) how much money is being requested, (2) how it will be spent, and (3) who will get it.
Know what happened? Just like in 2007, I was voted down 2-1! I've now lost two rounds on behalf of the taxpayers' "right to know," but the fight is far from over.
As a citizen of Alabama, you have the right to know how every penny of your tax money is being spent. As your next Governor, I will fight to expand openness and accountability in state government, and to get rid of tens of millions of dollars in wasteful "pork" spending, too.
The Benefit To You:
Eliminating "pork" spending allows scarce tax dollars to fund essential needs. The best way to keep politicians in line is to require them to be transparent, in advance, about every cent of tax money they want to spend. If we know exactly how politicians are spending or wasting our money, then we have real accountability. It's harder for them to push for tax increases when we know they are blowing the money we already send them on UFO's and sweet potatoes. Banning "pork" spending isn't just a good practice, it's the right thing to do.