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Alabama is 'star of the South' for insuring children, report finds
The number of Alabama children without health coverage dropped by nearly half between 2008 and 2013, and Medicaid and ALL Kids deserve a huge piece of the credit, according to research by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF). Alabama's number of uninsured children has fallen by nearly 11,000 since 2011 alone, a new CCF report finds. The state's estimated child uninsured rate of 4.3 percent is the nation's 10th best and the best among all Southern states.
"Alabama is the star of the South when it comes to making sure kids have the health care they need to succeed," said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University CCF. "It's a real tribute to the hard work of children's advocates like Alabama Arise and state health officials that Alabama has become such a leader on helping uninsured children."
Alabama's public transportation system needs a tune-up, report concludes
Alabama's transportation system forces residents to rely too much on automobiles and undermines the state's economic growth, according to "Connecting Our Citizens for Prosperity," an October 2014 report released by Alabama State University's Center for Leadership and Public Policy. Jon Broadway, Ph.D., and ACPP policy analyst Stephen Stetson are the report's authors.
Alabama is one of only five states providing no state money for public transportation. That lack of investment effectively isolates many residents who are unable to drive or lack access to private vehicles, the study finds. It also means Alabama is forgoing the new jobs that building and maintaining public transit options would bring, ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said.
"Our state's current transportation system simply can't be sustained," Forrister said. "Alabama's failure to invest in public transportation means too many of our neighbors can't get where they need to go when they need to get there. That doesn't just hurt them; it hurts our entire state's economy."
Alabama's incarceration rate one of nation's five highest, up 349% since 1978
Alabama has one of the nation's highest incarceration rates, and the costs of decades of explosive growth in the state's prison population are increasingly consuming funds that could support health care and other important services, according to a new study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonprofit research group in Washington, D.C.
Alabama is one of five states with more than 600 people in prison per every 100,000 residents, the CBPP study finds. The state's incarceration rate has jumped by 349 percent since 1978. ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister urged state officials to support safe, sensible reforms of Alabama's sentencing and parole policies to reverse that growth and to invest the savings in Medicaid, child care and other services that help low-income families improve their lives and escape poverty.
"Stronger support for health care, mental health care and substance abuse treatment can build stronger communities, cut costs and reduce crime in our state," Forrister said. "Alabama should invest in our people now so we can enjoy a brighter future tomorrow."
The State of Working Alabama 2014: The growing divide: Alabama's income gap is approaching Gilded Age levels
When the income gap between the rich and everyone else gets too large, the resulting inequality can threaten America’s foundations of fairness, equality and opportunity. Income inequality is deep in Alabama, and it has been getting even deeper in recent decades. Between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent of Alabamians saw their incomes grow by nearly 159 percent. But for everyone else in the state, the average income growth in that time was just 20.5 percent.
Policy analyst Carol Gundlach's new report, part of ACPP's State of Working Alabama 2014 series, examines the growing income gap between the richest Alabamians and everyone else and considers the gap's implications for the state's economy and our children's future. The report also considers how Medicaid expansion, investments in education and infrastructure, and other public policies could mitigate the worst effects of income inequality and promote broadly shared prosperity for all Alabamians.
Alabama’s K-12 funding cuts since 2008 are nation’s second deepest
Only one state has cut K-12 education funding more deeply than Alabama since the Great Recession began, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C. On a per-pupil basis, Alabama led the nation in cuts.
The cuts have slowed Alabama’s economic recovery and could hurt the state’s future economic growth, ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. “Alabama needs good schools and an educated workforce to compete in a global economy,” Forrister said. “Education opens the doors of opportunity for everyone, and we only hurt ourselves when we undermine it.”
Medicaid expansion, payday lending reform among Arise's 2015 issue priorities
Medicaid expansion, payday and auto title lending reform, and low-income housing will be among the goals on ACPP’s 2015 legislative agenda. ACPP and Alabama Arise members selected the groups’ issue priorities at their annual meeting Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Montgomery. Other issue priorities include tax reform, public transportation, repeal of the Alabama Accountability Act, and an end to the state's lifetime SNAP eligibility ban for people with a past felony drug conviction.
"This is our blueprint for a better Alabama," ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. "Our members see in their communities that too many families struggle to afford basics like food, health care, housing and transportation. These proposals would help hard-working Alabamians meet their needs and build a better life for their children."