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Bentley tax plan opens overdue conversation about Alabama's future
ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, in response to Gov. Robert Bentley's announcement of a plan to raise $700 million in revenue for Alabama's General Fund:
"The governor's proposal begins a conversation that's long overdue in Alabama: how to provide adequate funding for the common good. Medicaid, mental health care, public safety and other services make our state a better, healthier place to live and work. But funding for these essential services has been cut to the bone. We can't afford to risk even deeper cuts that could reverse decades of progress and do real harm to our most vulnerable neighbors.
"Importantly, the governor's plan would fund vital services without raising taxes on food and clothing. Alabama shouldn't tax low-income families deeper into poverty. We hope lawmakers keep that principle in mind as they seek a lasting cure for our ailing General Fund.
"All Alabamians deserve an opportunity to get ahead in life. By investing in the public services that provide the backbone for economic growth, we can build a strong, thriving state for everyone."
Arise Daily News Digest 2-27-2015
AL.COM - Gov. Robert Bentley to announce plans to address $700 million shortfall on Friday.
AL.COM - Attorney Joe Espy says Henry Mabry hasn't ruled out fighting for his job with AEA.
AL.COM - Mobile probate judge to testify at hearing challenging his order on gay couple's adoption.
AL.COM - Only Republican standing up to Democrats? Rush Limbaugh says it's Alabama's Jeff Sessions.
AL.COM - Gov. Bentley's pastor wants him to fight feds on same-sex marriage, even if they 'drag us to jail'.
AL.COM - Alabama Attorney General shuts down Elmore County used car dealer accused of defrauding customers.
AL.COM - Selma marcher recalls his time on the bridge on Bloody Sunday and the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that 'deleted' his soul.
AL.COM - Alabama DOT director stops road projects because of senator's billboard critical of Gov. Robert Bentley.
AL.COM - Federal Judge Mark Fuller awaiting recommendation on whether he should keep job.
AL.COM - Alabama State Board of Education member announces run for Montgomery mayor.
AL.COM – Columnist Charles Dean: Alabama has serious budget problems but Republicans have a fix: Yellow Mama.
AL.COM – Contributor Kristin Szylvian: Sen. John Sparkman's housing ideas still relevant.
AL.COM – Contributor Jeremy Jones: Students learn a lesson from the past while preparing for the future.
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER - House GOP Caucus Announces Ambitious Agenda
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER - Reynolds Warns that Free Market Principles May Soon Cease to Exist
ALABAMA SCHOOL CONNECTION - Charter Schools: Stuff for You to Read
DECATUR DAILY - The Decatur Daily: State political parties failing.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS - If Supreme Court says no, they'd lose health insurance help.
ANNISTON STAR - The Anniston Star: What's valued in Alabama.
ANNISTON STAR - Contributor Sophia Bracy Harris: In Alabama, child care is an economic engine.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Talese in Selma to see how town has changed since 1965.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Charter school bill filed in Alabama Senate.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - The Montgomery Advertiser: Too many students unprepared for college.
DOTHAN EAGLE - 10 things to know about Alabama charter school bill.
WASHINGTON POST - DHS shutdown threat dimming as House GOP proposes stopgap plan.
WASHINGTON POST - The FCC approves strong net neutrality rules.
WASHINGTON POST - Cutting IRS staff leads to cutting taxpayer services and collections.
WASHINGTON POST - Columnist Catherine Rampell: If you want to know who gets health-care handouts, look in the mirror.
NEW YORK TIMES - Senate Votes to Award Congressional Medal to Selma Marchers
NEW YORK TIMES – Building the First Slavery Museum in America
NEW YORK TIMES – Financial Aid for Undocumented Students is Losing Its Stigma
NEW YORK TIMES – The New York Times: Food Waste Grows With the Middle Class
THE ATLANTIC - White Privilege, Quantified
THE ATLANTIC - A Second Chance: Education's Role in Reversing Mass Incarceration
THE NATION - Fifty Years After Bloody Sunday in Selma, Everything and Nothing Has Changed
MOTHER JONES - The Brief Life and Private Death of Alexandria Hill
Alabama outpaces other Southern states in health coverage enrollment gains
The number of people enrolling in Marketplace health coverage is growing more quickly in Alabama than in most other Southern states, according to the Alabama Enrollment Coalition's analysis of new enrollment data. The coalition consists of ACPP, Enroll Alabama and other organizations working to help Alabamians obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Alabama has increased its health insurance enrollments under the ACA from nearly 98,000 in 2014 to nearly 138,000 through Jan. 23, 2015, with several weeks of open enrollment left. The boost of more than 40,000 enrollees marks an increase of 40.9 percent over the first year of open enrollment. The average increase among states using the federal Marketplace is 33 percent.
"Alabama's enrollment surge shows that affordable health coverage is available, and Alabamians are seizing the opportunity," ACPP policy director Jim Carnes said. "As the Feb. 15 enrollment deadline approaches, we urge anyone who needs insurance to learn about the financial assistance available and sign up for a plan that works for them."
New ACA enrollment figures are great news for Alabamians
ACPP policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, in response to new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data showing that more than 126,000 Alabamians have selected or been re-enrolled in health coverage plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
"The latest ACA enrollment numbers are great news for Alabama on two counts. First, they show that most Alabamians who enrolled in Marketplace coverage last year are paying their premiums and keeping their health insurance. And second, they show that more than 30,000 additional Alabamians already have gotten covered this year, with another month left to enroll.
"Affordable coverage is available, and Alabamians are seizing the opportunity. We're eager to see even more progress as open enrollment for 2015 coverage continues through Feb. 15."
Study on Alabama’s tax system: The less you make, the bigger share you pay
Low- and middle-income Alabamians pay more than twice as much in taxes as a share of their income compared to the state's wealthiest residents, according to a study released Wednesday by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. The study, Who Pays?, analyzes tax systems in all 50 states.
Every state's tax system is regressive, meaning the lower one's income, the higher one's tax rate. Alabama's tax system is the nation's 12th most regressive, ITEP finds. The Alabamians who earn the least – less than $17,000 a year – pay 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes. By contrast, the top 1 percent of Alabama earners – those who make $392,000 or more – pay an average of just 3.8 percent of their income in state and local taxes.
"Alabama's upside-down taxes hold our state back and drive low-income families deeper into poverty," ACPP policy director Jim Carnes said. "Our leaders could help right the ship by repealing the state grocery tax and ending tax breaks that favor wealthy people who could easily afford to pay more. It would help modernize our state's tax system, and it would help Alabama raise enough money for crucial services like education and health care."
Medicaid RCOs will lead to a healthier Alabama
ACPP policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, in response to Gov. Robert Bentley's announcement of the Alabama Medicaid Agency's new regional care organization (RCO) plan:
"Today marks the beginning of a new era for health care in Alabama. By emphasizing preventive and primary care and giving communities a stronger role in health care decision-making, Medicaid’s RCO model is creating a new roadmap to a healthier Alabama and a more stable state budget.
"The governor's announcement highlights how vital Alabama Medicaid is to the health care system on which we all depend. We thank Gov. Robert Bentley, State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson and Acting Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar for their leadership in the state's Medicaid transformation. And we congratulate the six RCOs for successfully completing the first phase of this historic effort."