(Audio above: Rep. Ed Henry interviewed by Cliff Sims on Yellowhammer Radio)
State Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) on Wednesday delivered a provocative interview on Yellowhammer Radio with Cliff Sims. The staunchly conservative lawmaker warned citizens that tax hikes are imminent, expressed embarrassment about the rash of Alabama GOP scandals, and called on his colleagues to cut the bureaucracy in Montgomery.
Here are six key segments of the interview, which can be heard in full in the video above.
1. Henry expects Republicans to hike taxes on Alabamians during the upcoming special session
I wish I could guarantee that taxes are off the table, that we had successfully beat back the tax push. There are a number of us that have laid our political lives on the line to stop taxes. We’ve done it for two sessions now. But I feel like the tide is starting to turn on us. They just keep coming back… I think they’re probably going to beat us this time. We’re not giving up. We’re going to war. We’re going to fight with everything we have to stop it. But I feel like there are too many people in office right now who have succumbed to this idea that the government needs more of your hard-earned income.
2. The most likely tax hikes are on tobacco, the business privilege tax and on pharmacies and nursing homes
The tobacco tax probably annoys me more than any of them because you’ll hear so many people say, “I can live with a tobacco tax because I don’t smoke, or smoking’s bad or blah, blah, blah.” It’s a freaking gateway tax. The way government increases revenue is they segregate society. Today we’ll tax smokers. Next year we’ll tax alcohol drinkers…. This year we’re going after pharmacists and nursing homes. Next year it’ll be doctors. Then we’ll go after construction workers. But you never do a broad based tax because the people would vote you out of office… I’ve told my colleagues, if you really feel like we need more revenue, raise the sales tax one percent. That raises more than enough money and it effects every single person that lives here and does business here… If you really need money, do a sales tax. And guess what? We don’t really need money that bad.
3. Recall elections my finally be coming to Alabama
The problem with term limits is you get people like (Gov. Bentley) elected to their second term and they have nothing to lose and they renege on every promise they made and expose themselves for being a completely different person than they presented on the campaign trail. The people of Alabama need some mechanism to recall those individuals… I believe it will be introduced in the special session.
4. Henry supports an AG investigation into Gov. Bentley’s use of state resources
It’s bad for our state’s image… Our governor seems to be caught up in something. The rumor mill’s been kicking around for a year or better… I’m getting emails from people quoting Section 173 of the Constitution, it’s the impeachment process for the governor… All it takes is a simple majority of the House of Representatives to call for an impeachment proceeding… (It’s not being discussed right now), but it is amazing how many messages I have received calling for his head… I think it’s appropriate (for the attorney general to investigate)… I don’t know if you can get enough people to get involved because there are plenty of people who have been involved (in similar situations).
5. There’s a leadership void in Montgomery
We were all on the same page for four years. We were hammering away together changing state government. Now they’re mad at me because I’m not on board. But I haven’t changed my positions. Our direction has changed… I ran on a principle that the government has enough of your hard-earned money, and it’s big enough to do everything it needs to do. The only way you can stop government from growing is if you stop feeding it… I don’t believe the government needs more of anybody’s money, period.
6. Lawmakers fear state agencies will come after their constituents if they cut government
Certain of our members have taken on this mantle of responsibility for the government… They are fearful of the bureaucracy, which is a beast, that if we cut them, the bureaucracy will hurt the people we’re trying to represent. Just like the (Alabama Law Enforcement Agency) trying to close driver’s license offices… That’s extortion. If we don’t give them what they want, they’re going to hurt our citizens. So you’ve got a number of great people who are reform-minded but they are concerned about how the bureaucracy is going to hurt their very people they were sent down there to serve… What I say is, let’s take out the bureaucracy. If it takes massive reforms, then let’s do massive reforms… We can beat them. But I promise you, giving them more money and doing what they want is never going to change anything.