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September 24, 2014

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PAGE 4 • THE FLORALA NEWS- WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 The Florala News' editorial section is intended to provide our readers and citizens as com- plete an opportunity to express themselves with as few restrictions as possible. Profanity, direct or implied, and attacks on one's person rather than on actions or deeds are not ac- ceptable. Publication on this page in NO WAY REFLECTS AGREEMENT OR ENDORSE- MENT BY THIS NEWSPAPER. Scotland: May we all live free erty and freedom of Americans, and encourages libertarians to dream of votes for possible indepen- dence, as we have just witnessed in Scotland. The larger goals of Scotland and England are very consistent and complementary. Yet, because the Western heritage is based on freedom and lib- erty, the Scots react strongly when the federal gov- ernment in Westminster restricts their means and choices. Several years ago while touring in the UK, I no- ticed a difference in how dogs were handled in Eng- land and in Scotland. There were no incidents in either nation in which dogs threatened me in any way; they all behaved in a most prim and proper manner. Yet I noticed that dogs in England were always on a leash, while in Scotland they were al- lowed to roam. When I returned home, I did some internet searching. Although dog laws are appro- priately a matter of local regulation rather than national law, I noticed that (as a general rule) local laws in England required that dogs be on a leash, but local laws in Scotland required that dogs be "under control," There is agreement Over the goal that dogs should not create threats or inconve- niences to other people, but in. England, it was common to regulate the means, while in Scotland people were allowed to choose their own means-- as long as they achieved the desired end. If your dog was appropriately trained, then the leash was not necessary. Any modern Western society requires many reg- ulations in order that one's personal freedom does not interfere or threaten the rights of others. It is bothersome, for example, if my neighbors burn nox- ious waste. It is bothersome if my neighbors' noise by Dr. Gary Welton The important cultural analysis by Geert Hofst- ede, conducted in the 1970s and 80s, and impacting many research paradigms since, concluded that the United States is the most individualistic cul- ture in the world. However, there are a handful of Western countries that approximate our American rugged individuahsm, including Canada, Austra- lia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Along with the U.S., these countries share a legacy of freedom and liberty. The state of New Hampshire tells us, "Live Free or Die," but this motto reflects the heritage of our entire Western •experience. Although we have much to learn from the rich traditions across the rest of the world, politicians would be foolish to ignore our traditions of indi- viduahsm. Leaders in Westminster have promised to allow Scotland to practice increasing freedam within the continuing UK. Edinburgh has been promised new authority over taxes, spending, and social welfare. Tese promises were sufficient to bolster undecided voters and amass the NO votes needed to maintain the union. Meanwhile, in America, the Obama admin- istration has--as a result of its frustration with our traditional protections of federal balance of power--sought by executive action to further reg- ulate social policy in America. To be more precise, the Obama administration has sought to federal- ize social policy when it fits with its agenda (as in abortion coverage as a part of mandated health insurance) while allowing states to ignore federal regulations when the federal laws disagree with its agenda (as in the legahzation of marijuana). Obama's use of executive action threatens the lib- Budget basics: Understanding Alabama's budget system (This is Part 2 of API's 3-part "Budget Basics' the appropriation limit. Proration was declared for series: exploring Alabama s budget system, the the General Fund in 2012. Poor stock market con- current fiscal climate and related challenges, and ditions and tornado recovery funds were cited as the implications for taxpayers.) contributing factors. " In some fiscal years, to avoid proration or to re- by Katherine Robertson I Alabama Policy Institute duce its impact, money has been borrowed from The Alabama state budget process,begins with the State rainy day accounts. The rainy day ac- the Alabama Department of Finance s Executive counts, one for the ETF and one for the GF, are State Budget Office (EBO), as required by Ala- part of the Alabama Trust Fund. The Alabama bama law. The EBO puts together the Governor s Trust Fund was established in 1985 and is fund- Executive Budget and presents it to the Legisla- ed by the State s oil and gas revenues. In 2008, ture. The Legislature reviews the Governor's bud- the ETF and GF Rainy Day Accounts were set up get and drafts its own, with assistance from the within the Trust fund, Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO). The two appro- There are constitutional limits on how much priations bills then go through the typical legis- money can be withdrawn in a particular fiscal lative process, starting with consideration by the year. Most recently, in 2009, the maximum with- relevant committees: the Senate Committee on Fi- drawal--$437 million--was made from the Educa- tion Rainy Day Account. The ETF must fully re- pay the remaining balance of $162 million by July 2015. In FY2010, $161 million was withdrawn from the General Fund Rainy Day Account. At present, there is no set schedule for repayment but it must be repaid by 2020. In September 2012, voters ap- proved a constitutional amendment to withdraw $437 million from the Alabama Trust Fund over the course of three years to make up for General Fund shortages. When the Legislature reconvened in 2013, a bill sponsored by Sen. Taylor (R-Pratt- ville) and former Rep. Love (R-Montgomery) was passed to require an automatic payback of this withdrawal by 2026. The Alabama economy continues to experience stagnant economic growth. Simply put, it has be- come more and more difficult to maintain level funding, much less increased funding, for all of the obhgations of state government. Republican-led efforts in the last quadrennium to pass legislation limiting ETF spending according to past growth, consohdating agencies or offices, streamlining a variety of operations; and ensuring the repayment of debts owed to the various savings funds are a solid step in the right direction. As it currently stands, more 'tightening of the belt' will be required. Providing for more flexibility in the allocation of resources will be another nec- essary consideration. - Katherine Robertson is vice president for the Alabama Policy Institute (API), an independent non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families. If you would like to speak with the author, please call (205) 870-9900 or email her at katheriner@ L nance and Taxation- ETF, the Senate Committee on Finance and Taxation-GF, the House Ways and Means Education Committee, and the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee. The Governor's proposed FY2015 General Fund budget was not substantially altered as it made its way through the legislative process. The Gover- nor recommended $1.82 billion and a $1.83 billion budget was enacted. On the other hand, the Sen- ate reduced by $75 million the Governor's $5.99 billion proposal for the ETF, while the House ver- sion decreased the appropriation b around $60 million (which was adopted). The main source of disagreement was the Governor's inclusion of a 2% pay raise for K-12 educators at a cost of $68 million and a $72 million increase for 'education employee insurance. If both of these items had been adopted, the ETF's statutory spending cap would have been exceeded by $92 million. The Legislature opted to focus resources on the education health insurance without providing for a pay raise, and exceeded the cap by a much smaller margin. On April• 11, 2014, the Governor signed the FY15 budget, allocating $1.8 billion to the Gen- eral Fund (up 5.1% from last year) and $5.9 billion • to the Education Trust Fund (up 2.9% from last year). As previously mentioned, the Alabama Consti- tution requires a balanced budget. Proration is de- clared when revenues from income, sales and other taxes fall short of estimates and across-the-board cuts are implemented, or prorated. Since 1980, the State has declared proration 11 times for the Edu- cation Trust Fund and eight times for the General Fund. In the last decade alone, the ETF went into proration six times and the GF three times. Nota- bly, since the Republicans took power, the ETF has not gone into proration, becausethe 2011 adoption of the Education Rolling Reserve Act (ERRA) caps The Florala News and hghts impact my personal space. However, the lesson of Scotland is that regulating personal hves should, as much as possible, respect freedom and hberty. In order to do so, our laws (preferably local laws) should regulate the desired ends, while al- lowing people the freedom to choose the strategies to achieve those ends. The British government has been using the term "devolution" to mean allowing local govern- ment to retake control of local issues, rather than regulating them at the federal level. It is devolu- tion, I suppose, in that control is removed from the higher federal level and returned to the lower lo- cal level. More properly, however, it should not be termed devolution; it should be called freedom. In the West, we expect the might to personally control our daily lives and (where necessary) to regulate them at the local level. Westminster promises to give more freedom back to Scotland. I long for a movement in America in which Washington gives more freedom back to our own state and local governments. Call it devo- lution if you will. I call it freedom. - Dr. Gary L. Welton is assistant dean for in- stitutional assessment, professor of psychology at Grove City College, and a contributor to The Center for Vision & Values. He is a recipient of a major research grant from the Templeton Foundation to investigate positive youth development. ..... .............. I :! • 47 Make the Switch [ Call 7 days a week 8am - 11pro EST Prorno (ode: MB0113 *Offer subiecI to change based o p/ernJu m (ban nel availabikty Star€Point N lcdia THEME: SOUTH AMER- ICA ACROSS 1. Like O'Shea or O'Toole 6. " }he season ..." 9. Peter the Great, e.g. 13. Carlo 14. Bow shape 15. *Model-building wood tree native to Brazil and Bolivia 16. Centrally localized 17. Romanian money 18. Dead-on 19. *aka Yuca, South American food staple 21. *Paraguay's neighbor 23. *Argentine Dogo, e.g. 24. Excluded from use or mention 25. Dress like Ancient Greeks 28. It must go on! 30. *Type of lizard 35. Competent 37. Descended to rest 39. Unlawful firing 40. Film movie 41. Short skirts 43. Passed with flying colors 44. Relating to genes 46. To do as another says 47. __ dance to country music 48. Relating to skeleton 50. Sea eagles 52. Drivers' licenses, e.g. 53. Financial aid criterion 55. Rare find 57. *El Libertador 61. *Nobel ,Prize-winning poet 64. Throat dangler 65. Clinton Rodham 67. Japanese animation 69. Opposites of #41 Across 70. " Got the World on a String" 71. Intro 72. "Guilty," e.g. 73. Listening organ 74. Ram'SrWeapons DOWN 1. Inter natal Monetary Fund 2. "A of One's Own" t 3. *Cusco empire 4. Custer's last 5. Greek Sun God 6. Magnesium silicate 7. Anger 8. Resort activity that requires certification 9. De Niro's ride, 1976 10. Czech or Serb 11. Fungal spore sacs 12. Pro 15. White whale 20. Old Irish alphabet 22. -wan kenobi 24. Kid's room object 25. *Popular South Ameri- can dance 26. Double-reed instru- ments 27. Flash 29. Assortment 31. Caspian basin river 32. Computer code 33. Incessantly 34. *Machu Picchu moun- tains 36. Great Lake 38. Bleacher feature 42. "The Playboy of the Western World" author 45. Painter's surface 49. Actress __ Thompson 51. Angel Gabriel, e.g. 54. "Sesame Street" Mup- pet 56.• Short story writer Alice 57. Protuberance 58. Track shape 59. Like jetsetter's accom- modations 60. Hip bones 61. -do-well 62. Christian of fashion 63. End of grace 66. *a.k.a. Evita 68. Emergency Medical Services last week's solution