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TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2005
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EDITORIAL

We Bible Belt residents hold on to our money

Living in Alabama where we say that the Good Book is our roadmap doesn't necessarily mean we stack up well against those who take a lesser path when it comes to looking after the poor.

Low property taxes mean we get to keep more of what God's given us and our income tax structure takes more away from those who don't have wealth.

Our Deep South philosophy about humanity is a devil's mix of economics and religion.

Many Alabamians are products of the hard agrarian life and the radical reconstruction following the Civil War. If our ancestors and we made it, we think that the downtrodden in a modern world have no excuses. It's our Alabama form of tough love.

We make a holy crusade of displaying the Ten Commandments, yet don't share nearly enough of our wealth to help the sick, ignorant and poor.

We want God in our classrooms and courts, yet we continue to make people who don't have enough money to live on pay income taxes.

Alabama has long had the distinction of the lowest property taxes in the nation. Now, with Kentucky changing its law, Alabama will make poor people pay more income taxes than any other state.

Having low property taxes for the wealthy and affluent and being the quickest to tax those in poverty show cracks in our Christian armor.

Alabamians had a chance to change that balance two years ago. We could have raised some taxes and eliminated income taxes for most families below the federal poverty line, but didn't.

A single parent with two children starts paying income taxes at $4,600.

Nobody wants to pay more taxes, but nobody wants the poor to suffer either. The way out of poverty is through education, which stays in crisis in Alabama because we won't provide adequate tax revenue for public schools.

Our low property taxes for those who are better off financially, and high income taxes for the poor, don't meet the Good Book's test.

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