the remainder of the term. Fulsom supported education reform and worked closely with A+, the Alabama leadership organization that advocated education reform around the state. Governor Fulsom presented Alabama First, along with the corresponding billion dollar tax revenue increase, to the legislature during the session preceding the gubernatorial elections. However, when the general public learned of the high price tag of reform, the consensus that A+ had built around the need for educational reform disintegrated. The Alabama Education Association, led by gubernatorial candidate Paul Hubbart, opposed the Alabama First bill because of its accountability provisions. Hubbart, who was running against Governor Fulsom in the Democratic primary and was vying with Fulsom for the title of "the education candidate," could not allow a Fulsom-backed reform plan to pass. He argued that Alabama could not afford, and did not need, a billion dollars worth of reform. The bill was passed in the Senate but not in the House and was thus postponed until the next legislative session.
The crucial turning point for school finance reform in Alabama was the 1994 election of Governor Fob James. James, a political underdog, ran on a "No New Taxes" campaign platform and rode the national Republican anti-government, anti-tax tide to beat Fulsom, who was hurt by charges of ethical violations. Although he only won the election by a small margin, James has since consolidated his political power in the state. Governor James has taken a strong stand against increased taxes and school reform and fully supports the political philosophy of the Christian Coalition. He has withdrawn from the National Governors' Association and does not support the federal Goals 2000 plan because he considers it to be social engineering. James has characterized the Alabama education system as inefficient and wasteful and has opposed increases in education spending. Governor James has also characterized the Hunt decision as judicial intervention, has defied the court order, and has attempted, so far unsuccessfully, to have it overturned. The fact that Harper v. Hunt did not make it to the Supreme Court in 1993 has helped James argue that the decision has no authority behind it.
The timing of the elections and political developments in Alabama eliminated the gubernatorial support of comprehensive reform in Alabama, but the effects of these events were compounded by the absence of legislative support for reform. Alabama First had no legislative participation, and former Governor Fulsom was the only political leader with strong stakes in Alabama First. At the same time, the politically powerful Alabama Farmers Association (ALFA) and the Christian Coalition opposed property tax increases and outcome-based education components of Alabama First and presented their own reform bill, Score 2000, which was backed by Republicans in the legislature.
Although A+, which was modeled after the Prichard Committee in Kentucky, had been very active in building consensus around reform, it had only been in existence for a few years. In contrast, ALFA and coalitions with vested interests in maintaining Alabama's property taxes as the lowest in the nation have a long history in the state. Alabama's constitution, written in 1901, favors large