Friday, 27 March 2015 17:11 | Written by WSFA 12 News Staff
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) –
Dr. David Bronner, who runs the Retirement Systems of Alabama, blasted the legislature on Tuesday in a speech to the Alabama Education Retirees Association.
It was a speech encouraging the Education Retirees Association to fight to keep what they already have; to push lawmakers to protect the investment and savings plan already in place. And then Dr. Bronner took a step a little further.
“When you think of Alabama, you think of this legislature up here, right now, if it’s unconstitutional, we’ll pass it,” Bronner said.
The criticism covered nearly every issue Alabama’s lawmakers are tackling this session. Bronner started with the state’s refusal to expand programs, like medicaid, that would bring federal dollars to the state.
“We send Washington $1, Washington sends us $3.38. As a Wall Street guy, I’ll do that trade all day with you until I pass out,” Bronner said.
The bulk of Bronner’s criticism was centered on the state’s prison system.
“If I was a fed right now, and I was attorney general of the United States, I would definitely indict the whole state,” Bronner said. “You are at 200 percent capacity; I think the exact number is 195 percent. California was put under federal court order at 130 percent.”
Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) is sponsoring a bill to reform the state’s prison system. His plan to fix the state’s problem starts with making sure ex-felons don’t end up back behind bars.
“Do we want to make sure when they get out that they have adequate supervision, they have a job and are going to do something productive with themselves, or do we just want to say good luck, you’re on your own, no supervision, no training, and there’s a guarantee for failure that they’re going to commit a new crime again?” Ward said.
“But I really love our new Senator, who is taking this issue on, so he may actually do something in this legislative time to fix this problem, or at least mitigate it to some extent,” Bronner said.
A brief moment of praise before Bronner’s next comment.
“When your taxes are the 50th in America, you’re not really asking the people to do what they should to make this place better. God bless you. Thank you very much.”
The Governor’s budget proposal this year includes a number of tax increases in an effort to create more revenue and work towards balancing the budget.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have distanced themselves from that proposal, and they haven’t even begun to work on the budget yet this session.
This week is spring break for them, so expect them to start getting down to business on the budget next week.
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