Guide to the Issues: The State Budget: Earmarks

Guide to the Issues: The State Budget: Earmarks

Originally, an “earmark” was a sign of ownership–a mark in the ear of a sheep or other animal.  Today, earmarks are the sign of bad fiscal policy.

Earmarking is the dedication of certain tax revenues to the financing of specific programs. Currently, 93% of Alabama’s tax dollars are earmarked, by far the highest of any state. State officials only have discretion over how to spend 7% of Alabama’s tax dollars.

The excessive amount of earmarking in Alabama’s budget denies our state the financial flexibility that is necessary for taxpayer money to be spent efficiently and effectively.

By implementing the recommendations of this Guide, state officials would be able to shoulder the responsibility of Alabama’s budget and start spending taxpayer money so that it best meets Alabama’s needs and priorities.