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WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Legislators are opting to cut the baby in half

Once again, our legislators opted to cut the baby in half.

King Solomonís test to determine who really cared about the infant child worked because one of the women cared.

Were he to present the same option to bickering legislators, with the state playing the role of child, we would have a sword stained with blood.

By failing to pass a General Fund budget, the Legislature committed the state to a $430,000 special session. It also jeopardized important programs, left state employees wondering whether they will have jobs and neglected many bills that would have benefited Alabamians.

Over and over our lawmakers have opportunities to work together and move our state forward. Over and over they fail.

The reasons they fail are legion.

Many pay allegiance to special interests because they fear being run out of office without generous campaign contributions from the tails that wag the state.

Others are so proud of their power that they prefer Solomonís sword to compromise.

Many bow not to the state but to their political parties or colleagues.

Some are simply clueless, not understanding what happens if the child is cut in half.

Many are lazy. It takes energy to push for a responsible Legislature. It is easier for them to issue platitudes to their constituents every time an election rolls around than to try to get anything done.

So why do we let them get away with it? Because the worst offenders are also among the best at funneling money to their districts. We, too, are failing Solomonís test, preferring state-funded perks to locally funded necessities.

As a body, the Legislature is incompetent. It does not live up to its responsibilities. It is indecisive, wrong-headed and an embarrassment to the state that employs it.

The best solution would be to vote against our worst legislators while retaining the best. An increasingly attractive option: Get rid of the whole bunch and try again.

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