By Quin Hillyer, a Mobile-based Contributing Editor for National Review Online. His new novel, Mad Jones, Heretic, is available now at

Alabama Senate Republicans are well intentioned, but seriously misguided, in proposing to use the current legislative session to pass a type of income tax cut.

In effect, the senators propose taking advantage of a temporarily good economy to permanently reduce state government revenues – even though funding levels of core governmental functions remain either barely adequate or objectively inadequate entirely.

If there truly is excess revenue after core functions are funded this year, that revenue should be placed in some sort of “rainy day” account for years when the economy turns downward again. The likelier truth, though, is that even a fiscally conservative government will require more revenue, not less, in the next few years….

[later in the column]…. 

We do know this: Just this week, state papers were reporting that the number of state troopers is at a “dangerously low” level of less than 250 – just one for every 214 square miles, which is only a fourth of the staffing level ideal for a state this size. The number of troopers has dropped 22 percent in four years, even as auto accidents have increased 16 percent and fatalities 28 percent.

We also know that Alabama already runs the nation’s least generous Medicaid program, spending just 67 percent of the national average per participant – and in the past year serving fewer participants even at that lower per-patient rate, rather than expanding rolls as other states have done….. [and] We know that (in 2014, the most recent year for which full statistics are yet available) Alabama already is dead last among the 50 states in total state and local tax collections per capita. It’s almost impossible to make the argument that we’re over-taxed….

[The full column is here.]