Those of us old enough to remember when Johnny Carson ruled the late-night TV market with the Tonight Show recall his character known as “Carnac the Magnificent.”  This mystic from the east would divine answers to unknown questions.

Much like Carnac, Senator Phil Williams of Etowah County continues to insist that he sees things no one else can see.  In this case it is a $400 million “surplus” in the state education trust fund by the end of fiscal 2016.  Though the good senator is not a member of the Senate Education Ways & Means committee, he must be privy to info that committee chairman Senator Trip Pittman does not have.

(Both Senator Pittman, and his House counterpart Rep. Bill Poole, insist there is no surplus.)

As I have previously pointed out, Senator Williams and his fellow surplus finders, are ignoring the simple fact that we have worked to created the illusion of a surplus by not paying our bills.  Would the senator boast about how much he had in his personal bank account at the same time the power company was telling him he was three months late in paying his bill?

And if the senator is really concerned about funding our schools, then why don’t you take your hand out of their pocket?

This is the link to financial records for the state.  Spend some time there and you come up with all kinds of interesting insight about money.

For instance, you will find that between July 23 and Aug. 22 Senator Williams was paid $2,059.90 by Alabama taxpayers for in-state travel.  And where did the money come from?  The Education Trust Fund.

I worked for the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries from 2007 until I retired in 2011.  The last two years we were constantly told that we had to save as much money as possible.  So for two years I drove my own car, bought my own gas, paid for my own meals, lodging and conference registrations.  Never turned in an expense account because I felt that the work I was doing was important enough to be continued.  And if it took me paying my own way, so be it.  No big deal.  I didn’t expect a medal, didn’t brag about what I was doing, just went my own way.

Senator Williams, maybe you should try the same thing. At least stop talking about a phantom surplus while you get the school kids of this state to pay you to drive to Montgomery.