(Audio above: ALGOP Chairwoman Terry Lathan interviewed on Yellowhammer Radio with Cliff Sims)
On Tuesday’s edition of Yellowhammer Radio, Alabama Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan said she would much rather have Republicans tackling the state’s current fiscal issues than Democrats, but urged legislators who ran on the Party’s platform of smaller, more limited government to keep their promises and not raise taxes.
“I would much rather it be us there having these conversations, pulling this stuff apart, dealing with each other, than Democrats — period, end of sentence,” Lathan told host Cliff Sims. “They had their opportunity for 136 years. And I guess one could say that we’re in some of the problems that we are in because of that history. We have been in charge for five years. The last four years have been pretty much smooth sailing… But we’re in kind of a hole right now. We’ve got a $200-250 million problem with the budget. And I would rather have our team sitting there doing this and working this out… But I did tell a group not long ago that if when you were (running for office) you said ‘If you elect me, I’m going to raise your taxes,’ then you need to raise their taxes. But if you held your hand up and said, ‘I am not going to raise your taxes,’ then I would suggest, logically, that you follow that pathway.”
Lathan comments come at a time when GOP leaders in Montgomery are wrestling with how to balance the state’s General Fund Budget. Governor Robert Bentley and House Republican leaders have been adamant about the need to raise taxes, but Senate Republican leaders and many rank and file lawmakers in both chambers have ardently opposed such measures. The conflict led to the governor vetoing a budget that balanced on cuts alone. Bentley then called the legislature back into a Special Session. A second Special Session will likely be needed as the two chambers of the legislature were again not able to come to a consensus.
Sims followed up by asking Chairwoman Lathan what role — if any — the state party should play in holding its candidates accountable for straying from the party’s platform once elected.
“When People hear ‘Republican Party,’ they think limited government, lower taxes, less regulation, pro-family, pro-life. What happens when you have elected officials who break from these things that are core principles. What is the party supposed to do in those situations, if anything?” He asked.
Lathan said the party has a process through which it can makes its official position known, but said it is ultimately up to the voters to hold politicians accountable.
“We do meet twice a year and between those times we have resolutions that come up and we vote on them,” she said. “For instance, increasing taxes. During our February meeting it come up and 99 percent voted on a resolution to not raise our taxes… Our role is to support our people… But their bosses are the voters. We will say things. I’ve sent letters. We’re not quiet. But eventually they are responsible for their votes.”
The next Alabama Republican Party meeting is taking place August 22nd at Talladega Superspeedway and presidential hopeful Scott Walker will be the keynote speaker. Tickets for the event are available on the Party’s website, and the public is welcome to attend.
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— Elizabeth BeShears (@LizEBeesh) January 21, 2015