The following is an editorial from WBRC FOX6 News General Manager Collin Gaston, which first aired on Tuesday, June 20, 2017:
It looks like Alabama has figured out a way to raise much needed money for Alabama’s District Attorneys and our state court system: boosting the price of booze. The Alabama Alcohol Control Board, also known as the ABC Board, voted unanimously last week to approve a five percent increase on markup prices for liquor sales.
Based on last year’s alcohol sales in Alabama, this five percent bump is expected to bring in an additional $8.2 million to our state’s General Fund. Of this $8.2 million, approximately $6 million will go to support the operations of our Alabama District Attorney’s and the remaining $2.2 million will go to our state’s court system.
This is not a windfall by any means, as our state’s DA and court system combined budgets have been reduced by some $64.5 million since 2008 with no appreciable reduction in the work or caseload. Barry Matson, Alabama Director of the Office of Prosecution Services, underscored the issue by stating to the Montgomery Advertiser that Alabama is currently handling “80,000 felonies a year with less than 320 prosecutors to handle those cases.”
While no one wants to pay more for anything, I would hope we could all agree this five percent increase is at least going to support two very important agencies that are vital for our state’s safety and well-being.
We would ask that long-term, our new Alabama Governor and all lawmakers come up with a better solution long-term to fund our courts and District Attorneys in ways other than relying on the ABC Board to fill the void.
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