The Truth About Government Spending in Alabama

by D.V. Bowden

March 4, 2003

It's time for some cold, hard facts about the State of Alabama's budget. Tax-mongers like Paul Hubbert and Susan Hamill have been bleating about the "poorly-funded" government education [indoctrination] system in Alabama, but the government's own figures show an incredible increase in spending during the last six years of "crisis." All figures are from the State of Alabama Executive Budget Office. Take a look:

Total General Fund Spending

1997  $6,089,254,763
2003  $9,040,045,361

Spending increased by $2,950,790,598 (48.46%) over 6 years!

Total Education Spending

1997  $6,289,663,463
2003  $8,337,549,195

Spending increased by $2,047,885,732 (32.56%) over 6 years!

Total Combined Spending

1997  $12,378,918,226
2003  $17,377,594,556

Spending increased by $4,998,676,330 (40.38%) over 6 years!

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Has your income gone up 40% in the last six years? Whose has? Yet the spendaholics in state government want to increase your taxes even more. Insanity!

There are about 4.5 million people in Alabama. The increased spending over the past 6 years amounts to $1,100 per person. The total amount of state government spending in Alabama is $3,862 per person. That's money that comes straight out of your pocket, either directly in the case of taxes, or indirectly when businesses are taxed and pass the cost along through higher prices. YOU are paying for it. Do you think you're getting your money's worth?

Perhaps some illustrations of the things on which the state spends [squanders?] your money might be in order. Here are a few examples of items that are funded through the General Fund budget. Since state budgets have been "cut to the bone," I guess that means we just can't survive without:

  • $85,130 for the Massage Therapy Board [Just relax and let go of your wallet...].
  • $59,530 for the Landscape Architects Board [You know how dangerous unregulated landscape architecture can be...].
  • $54,000 to the Hearing Instrument Dealers Board [Say what?].
  • $125,000 for the Dietetics and Nutrition Board [I just lost my appetite].
  • $34,450 gets you an Athlete Agents Regulatory Commission [Bo knows pork].
  • $18,817 goes to the Men's Hall of Fame, but only
  • $12,641 to the Women's Hall of Fame [Only 12K? Discrimination!].
  • $54,375 for America's Jr. Miss Pageant [Are beauty pageants a public good?].
  • $38,565,327 for the wholly-unnecessary Alcoholic Beverage Control agency. [Why is the state in the business of selling liquor anyway?]

And these expenditures are only the tip of the iceberg. A detailed vetting of the budget would probably reveal hundreds of appropriations even more useless than these. Note that many of the above appropriations are for regulatory agencies--not only does the state delight in robbing you, but it uses the money it has stolen to further oppress the people with regulation.

Remember the "education crisis" we're always hearing about? You know, the one supposedly caused by the government schools not getting enough money? Take a look at some of these items which are funded through the Education Budget. Do you think that any public schoolchildrens' educations are really improved by:

  • $86,382 for the Music Hall of Fame [Another pathetic attempt to draw "tourists" to Alabama].
  • $125,073 for the Sports Hall of Fame [Private citizens spend millions on sports in this state, and the museum has to be funded with taxes?!]
  • $118,819 to the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum [what about MY rights? Gimme back my money!]
  • $71,292 for a National Voting Rights Museum [Most people don't vote, much less waste time in a museum about voting.]
  • $8,404 to fund YMCA Youth in Government [Great. Teach the kids it's OK to plunder your neighbor to fund projects like these].

What do any of these things have to do with real education--reading, writing, and arithmetic--the things Alabama's government schools are failing to adequately teach?

Clearly, the problem with Alabama state government is not inadequate revenues, but excessive spending. Alabama's state government needs to go on a diet (not Atkins!) and cut out the pork. If this was done, Alabama would have plenty of revenue for all the important functions of state government, and could even afford to simplify the Byzantine state tax system and cut taxes--but that's another article.

(Graph courtesy of

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