By now those who keep up with such things know that the Education Trust Fund will be prorated. They know that the General Fund budget, which pays for everything except education, is in trouble.
Teachers and state employees will be asked to pay more for their retirement accounts, or health insurance premiums. There might not be enough money to go around and teachers and perhaps other state employees will be terminated.
And now the budget woes are hitting the state’s tourist attractions, and hitting them hard. Some, who depend on Alabama taxpayers for their entire budgets, might get no money at all. Others might see most of their money go away as the state strips its funding from their budgets.
In good times, it makes sense for the state to help fund these facilities — ranging from the Alabama Music Hall of Fame to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega County.
In difficult times, it makes sense that these attractions take the same cuts as every other state agency and hang on until better times arrive.
But these times are not good, nor are they difficult.
They are the biggest financial crisis the state has seen since the Great Depresssion of the 1930s.
Gov. Robert Bentley has said the budget situation is bad. He has said it is worse than anyone knows.
So he is proposing to slash funding from these worthwhile projects.
What is more important? Maintaining a museum or providing health care to low income children? Which ranks first, keeping state troopers on the road or paying for new advertising extolling Alabama’s virtues as a place to visit?
Painful as it is, we all know the answers to those questions. The tourist attractions that can make it on their own, at some level, can hang on and wait for better times.
A hungry child, or a community in need of law enforcement, can’t wait.