Casino events

Supreme Court rulings on casinos are an insult to all Republicans

In the early 1990s, we provided incentives to recruit Mercedes to set up a factory in Alabama.

It was one of the most important economic events in the history of our state. It changed the dynamic of our state, making Alabama a leader in the automotive manufacturing industry.

Now, nearly 30 years later, Mercedes is building electric vehicles, something unheard of when the Vance plant was built. Now what if the Alabama Department of Revenue decided that they weren’t doing what the law allowed, which was building gasoline vehicles and the law didn’t apply to electric vehicles? As a result, Mercedes is no longer eligible for the incentives granted by Alabama and now owes the state $100 million.

What if the Alabama Supreme Court had agreed that electric vehicles were not part of the original law and that Mercedes-Benz US International Inc. now owed the state money? Mad?

But that’s exactly what our state’s Supreme Court did in the GreeneTrack case. The Supreme Court said that because “electronic” bingo did not exist in 1975, it was not exempt from tax when the law was passed to exempt GreeneTrack.

The original law passed in 1975 was intended to prevent what the Department of Revenue did – a government agency from showing up at a later date and taxing them with bankruptcy – which recently happened with the Department of Revenue and the Court Supreme of Alabama.

I know the intent of the law because I was there and participated in the discussion and voted for the bill.

One of the litmus tests that we as Republicans require of our courts is not to “make laws,” but only to interpret the law and the original intent of the law. We fight when the Supreme Court of the United States makes laws, but that’s exactly what our state Supreme Court did.

Or are we okay because it’s a black belt county, we don’t really like gambling, and it’s a Democrat county anyway, so let this all-white Court make some laws? It is simply hypocritical.

Next time, it may be the company you work for that goes bankrupt with the interpretation of a law by a few chosen people. If it’s okay for the courts to pass laws today, it will set a precedent for next time – it just gives the Alabama Supreme Court too much power to impose taxes.

Even scarier is that the Court gave the Ministry of Revenue more power to seek other income. Where are our legislators? Do they accept that the courts make laws for their constituents? If so, why even bother to come to the next session – just allow the Supreme Court to make it up however it sees fit since it is essentially doing it today with exaggerated opinions?

It forces the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the blatant discrimination against one of our poorest counties, its workforce that desperately needs jobs, and its citizens who are being punished by writing a legislation passed years ago.

Senator Dial served for 40 years in the Legislative Assembly. He was first elected in 1974 and retired in 2018. He has represented Clay, Cleburne, Cherokee, Randolph, Chambers and parts of Lee County.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.

Don’t miss! Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our top stories every morning of the week.