Dear Friends,

The books on Fiscal Year 2013 have closed and I am pleased to report it has been another successful year of growing the economy and getting more Alabamians back to work. 

In Alabama, we have a plan to get our economy back on track that does not put the burden on our citizens or business owners – and it is working. 

Unlike the out of control spending in Washington D.C., we are cutting wasteful spending, decreasing the size of government, and streamlining government functions.  Alabamians have been forced to cut and trim their budgets to make ends meet and I believe state government should too.  My office continues to find ways to reduce spending.  We closed the fiscal year, once again, under budget. 

At a time when trust and credibility are rapidly declining in Washington, Alabama’s new leadership elected in 2010 is keeping its promise to voters. 

In my Inaugural Address, I called for an end to proration.  As a result of practical budget reforms and common-sense budgeting practices, the Education Trust Fund was not subjected to mid-year cuts for the second year in a row. 

October 1 marked a $260 million repayment to the Education Trust Fund Rainy Day Account, a significant step in paying back the funds transferred from the Rainy Day Account to support the education budget in the 2009 fiscal year. 

These are promises we made to Alabama citizens, and promises we kept. 

The System is Down
Within hours of its launch, proved to be a train wreck.  The healthcare marketplace that was promised to provide health insurance for everyone doesn’t seem to be working for anyone.  The Obama administration finally acknowledged the website was faulty, but still fails to see that the Affordable Care Act is anything but. 

I am grateful that in his wisdom and as a physician, Governor Bentley could see the writing on the wall and opted out of setting up a state healthcare exchange that would have put undue financial burdens on the Alabama taxpayers. 

I applaud the members of Alabama’s Congressional delegation who have been courageous and steadfast in standing up to the federal government’s overreaching and out of touch policies.  With my friend Sen. Jeff Sessions on the Budget Conference Committee, we can be rest assured that Alabama values will be represented at the table.  Thank you for your service in protecting the best interests of our citizens.  Congress needs more like you.

Building a Better Alabama One Article at a Time
The Alabama Constitution of 1901 is the longest state constitution still in use and has hundreds of amendments.  In many ways, our state’s most fundamental law needs updating. 

The Constitutional Revision Commission was established by legislation in 2011 to do just that. 

The Commission was tasked with updating several constitutional articles that are antiquated, unnecessary, or duplicative.  Commission members deliberated topics such as home rule, removing racist language, and the powers and duties of the Executive Branch. 

Members met diligently over the last two years, reviewing our constitution with a fine-tooth comb and careful eye. The task was completed at their last scheduled meeting on September 25th.  My office was fully engaged in the process.     

The Commission’s recommendations are now sent to the Legislature where lawmakers will decide whether they should move forward and go to the people for a vote.  Some of the Commission’s recommendations have already become law, while others are awaiting debate in the next legislative session. 

Improving our constitution is an important step to building a better Alabama.  I look forward to presiding over the Senate’s deliberation on the Commission’s remaining proposals.

Dr. Benjamin Carson Named Honorary Lieutenant Governor
I was honored and pleased to visit with world-renowned surgeon and vocal ObamaCare critic, Dr. Benjamin Carson, as he visited Alabama on a number of occasions recently.  He was in our state so frequently that he joked he was practically an Alabama resident.  So I thought I’d do one better and named Dr. Carson an Honorary Lieutenant Governor of Alabama!

I am honored to serve as Lieutenant Governor of this great State.  Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I may be of any assistance to you.