Join the Discussion
Arise Daily News Digest 3-1-2015
AL.COM - Republican leaders say Bentley's tax increase plan will get a fair hearing.
AL.COM - Civil rights activist overcomes mother's murder, turns tragedy into educational movement of utmost importance.
AL.COM - Presbyterians in south Alabama vote no on same-sex marriage amendment.
AL.COM - Bentley plan: Alabama cigarette tax would be higher than most neighboring states; middle of pack nationally.
AL.COM - Contributor Kathy Woodfin: Alabama's in deep trouble.
AL.COM - What brings President Obama, George W. Bush to Alabama 50 years after 'the outrage of Selma'?
AL.COM - Alabama tax deadlines extended due to winter storm.
AL.COM - Fitch upgrades Port Authority's docks facilities revenue bonds to 'A-'.
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: AEA political spending offers a lesson in porcine proctology.
AL.COM – Contributor Tom Spencer: Tax reform? Here's how Alabama compares to the rest of the Southeast.
SALON - This SCOTUS destroyed America: How Citizens United is ruining more than our elections.
SALON - Abolish the death penalty!: Here are 8 good reasons why.
SALON - Study: Poor women have 5 times more unplanned births than more affluent women.
THE ATLANTIC - Can Bipartisanship End Mass Incarceration?
THE ATLANTIC - Locked Up for Being Poor: How private debt collectors contribute to a cycle of jail, unemployment, and poverty.
NEW YORK TIMES - Targeting Inequality, This Time on Public Transit
WASHINGTON POST - Schools face new challenges as poverty grows in inner suburbs.
HUFFINGTON POST - Who Gets Food Stamps? White People, Mostly
AL.COM - 12 bills you need to know about this Alabama legislative session.
DECATUR DAILY - Revenue plan may hit local coffers: City officials, vehicle dealerships consider state tax hike impact.
DECATUR DAILY - The Decatur Daily: ‘Red my lips’ – state needs tax reform.
(FLORENCE) TIMES DAILY - Reporter Mary Sell’s Capital Notebook: Collier not asking for funding.
(FLORENCE) TIMES DAILY - The Times Daily: Benefits outweigh the costs.
ANNISTON STAR - Can Bentley find support for his tax plan among legislators?
ANNISTON STAR - Marsh says Hubbard never asked him for money.
ANNISTON STAR - The Anniston Star: Back to work in Montgomery.
ANNISTON STAR - Contributor William Canary: A legislative plan for Alabama businesses.
ANNISTON STAR - Publisher H. Brandt Ayers: Equal justice under the law?
ANNISTON STAR - Editor Bob Davis: The good news about Bentley's message.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Alabama Legislature in 2015: A question of will.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Contributor John Norris: Will new taxes slow Alabama’s economy?
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Columnist Josh Moon: The 2015 Alabama House Republican agenda translated.
DOTHAN EAGLE - As session begins, Legislature waits for governor.
DOTHAN EAGLE - The Dothan Eagle: Another look at double-dipping.
WASHINGTON POST - Contentious teacher-related policies moving from legislatures to the courts.
WASHINGTON POST - U.S. clemency effort, slow to start, will rely on an army of pro bono lawyers.
WASHINGTON POST - Colleges are trying to get students to make a course correction.
WASHINGTON POST - Columnist Ruth Marcus: In Affordable Care Act case, context is key.
WASHINGTON POST - Contributor AG Eric Holder: Time to tackle unfinished business in criminal justice reform.
WASHINGTON POST - Columnist Robert Barnes: Obamacare threatens to end John Roberts’s dream of a nonpartisan Supreme Court.
NEW YORK TIMES - G.O.P. Race Starts in Lavish Haunts of Rich Donors
NEW YORK TIMES - Before Justices Rule, Floridians Consider Life Without Health Subsidies
NEW YORK TIMES - How an Adverse Supreme Court Ruling Would Send Obamacare Into a Tailspin
NEW YORK TIMES - As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out
NEW YORK TIMES – The New York Times: The Phony Legal Attack on Health Care
NEW YORK TIMES – Contributor Robb Willer: Is the Environment a Moral Cause?
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."
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."