MONTGOMERY -- Gov. Bob Riley, citing the severity of the economic downturn, declared proration today in state education spending and announced a hiring freeze in non-education state agencies.
The revenue shortfall would have caused across-the-board cuts of 12.5 percent. But Riley said he is taking $218 million, or half of the $437 million available in a state rainy day fund, to reduce the cuts to 9 percent.
What's amazing and really very backward is that Alabama has some of the lowest per pupil spending in the nation. According to the most recent data that I can find located at this link Alabama per-pupil education spending Alabama on average spends a little over $8,000 per student. Yet we spend $13,000 to lock up a non-violent citizen for smoking pot.
Instead of making responsible adult cannabis consumers a burden on state tax payers by forcing taxpayers to pay for incarceration why not regulate and tax marijuana like we do with alcohol and tobacco and use the taxes collected to make our education system better? There's a whole base of cannabis consumers in Alabama who would be more than happy to be taxed in exchange for a safe, regulated market.
Not only could we use the money raised in taxes for public education we could also use it for drug prevention education and to fund treatment for those addicted to harder drugs. It would be a superb deal all the way around.
TAKE OUR MONEY PLEASE!