Geiger: Tax plan ‘ridiculous’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Roy Geiger has a simple way of defining Gov. Bob Riley’s proposed $1.2 billion tax increase: "I think it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in my life."

That simple disposition appears to be growing among a number of traditionally conservative citizens in Alabama &045;&045; many who helped Riley narrowly defeat incumbent Gov. Don Siegelman less than a year ago.

Geiger runs Sumter Timber Co. in Demopolis and he believes his business would be one of the many hurt by Riley’s plan.

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Even for Geiger, the amount of taxes he pays will increase dramatically.

But paying more in taxes isn’t even Geiger’s biggest problem with Riley’s proposal. To him, there just isn’t enough accountability in state government.

Geiger’s thoughts come on the heels of the one of the state’s most powerful organizations &045;&045; ALFA &045;&045; announcing on Monday that they could not endorse Riley’s tax increase plan.

While groups have formally begun lining up against Riley’s plan, Dr. D’Linell Finley, a political science professor at Auburn University-Montgomery, believes Riley still has a chance to get the tax package passed.

Finley admitted people like Geiger may be hard to win over, and he said Riley can’t spend his time focusing on those voters who have made up their minds.

To Finley, the tax argument can’t just be about raising taxes on the working people.

People like Geiger, who don’t trust government with the money their given, have a valid point, Finley said.

More importantly, Riley has to convince voters that his tax plan will not be over burdensome to those who do see a tax increase.

Whether or not local citizens like Geiger can be convinced of that is still up for grabs. If the tax referendum, which will be held Sept. 9, were held today, Geiger would have no problem making up his mind at the polls.