ACPP news releases

Alabama may lose big if 2020 Census isn't properly funded, study finds

The results of the 2020 Census will help guide the allocation of more than $7.5 billion in federal funding for Alabama each year. But an undercount of the state’s population could put a huge amount of that support at risk over the next decade, according to “Counting for Dollars 2020,” a new study led by Professor Andrew Reamer of George Washington University (GWU).

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project (ACPP) has teamed with the Census Project to call on Alabamians to demand that Congress provide full Census funding in the 2018 federal budget to help ensure the state’s population is properly counted in 2020.

“Alabama can’t afford to be undercounted in the upcoming Census,” ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. “Investments in Medicaid, housing and transportation make Alabama a better place to live and work, and we need to ensure our state doesn’t get shortchanged on the federal funding that helps make those services possible.”

The GWU report contains a 50-state listing of funds that are directed to state and local governments based on Census data. The list includes money for vital services such as health care, Head Start, roads and highways, school lunch programs and housing assistance. A summary of the national findings calculated $589.7 billion in Census-directed funding from 16 federal programs in 2015.

Phil Sparks of the Census Project said Alabama had much to lose from a poorly planned Census count. “The state has a lot at stake in this debate,” Sparks said. “All Alabamians benefit from a high-quality, complete and fair Census.”

While the study focused on 16 federal programs, five account for most federal funding to Alabama: Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Medicare Part B, HUD Section 8 Housing Vouchers, and Department of Transportation Highway Planning and Construction Funds.

“The fair and equitable distribution of federal financial assistance to state and local governments and households will depend on the accuracy of the 2020 Census,” Reamer said.

Detailed findings on each of the 16 programs the group has researched can be found below:

Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid)

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Medicare Part B (Supplemental Medical Insurance) – Physicians Fee Schedule Services

Highway Planning and Construction

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies

National School Lunch Program

Special Education Grants (IDEA)

State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program (Project-based)

Head Start/Early Head Start

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

Foster Care (Title IV-E)

Health Center Programs (Community, Migrant, Homeless, Public Housing)

Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)

Child Care and Development Fund

If you're rich, the House GOP tax plan is great for you. If not? Not so much

The richest 1 percent of Alabamians would get large tax cuts that would grow even larger over the next decade under U.S. House Republicans’ tax plan, according to projections released Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, nearly one in five Alabamians – including one in four middle-income taxpayers – would pay higher taxes by 2027 under the GOP plan, ITEP finds.

The plan would add at least $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit, setting the stage for cuts to education, health care and other services, Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister said.

“These tax cuts would hurt working families and the economy while giving even more money to people who are already wealthy,” Forrister said. “This plan would pave the way for deep cuts to federal funding for Medicaid, education, housing, transportation and other services that help everyday Alabamians get ahead. That’s a harmful path, and Congress should turn away from it.”

Key Alabama findings from ITEP’s study of the GOP tax plan include:

  • The top 1 percent of Alabama earners would receive an average tax cut of $40,990 in 2018. That number would jump to $58,200 by 2027.
  • Nearly one in five Alabamians (18 percent) would pay higher taxes by 2027 under the plan, including 25 percent of middle-income taxpayers.
  • Just 10 percent of the state’s total tax cuts in 2027 would go to the three in five Alabamians who would have incomes of less than $80,090 a year. Their average tax cut would shrink from $320 in 2018 to $180 in 2027.

“Any gains that working Alabamians would get from these tax cuts pale in comparison to the harm they’d suffer from cuts to education, health care and other vital public services,” Forrister said. “Congress should reject these tax cuts for the rich and work to build a better future for all of us.”

GOP tax plan would slash taxes for wealthy people while laying groundwork for cuts to education, Medicaid

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in response to the release of U.S. House Republicans’ tax proposal:

The House Republican tax plan is an expensive new giveaway to wealthy households and big corporations at the expense of working families. It would offer little or nothing to most Alabamians, and it actually would increase taxes for many low- and middle-income folks.

“This plan would add at least $1.5 trillion to the national deficit – and to pay for it, many in Congress will try next year to cut everything from education and Medicaid to food assistance for struggling families. Those cuts would make it even tougher for hard-working Alabamians to make ends meet.

“Taking from those who have the least to give to those who have the most is no way to build a better economy, a better state or a better world. Congress should reject this tax bill and focus instead on closing corporate tax loopholes and investing in education, health care, transportation and other vital services that help struggling families get ahead across Alabama and across the country.”

Executive order could mean soaring health insurance costs for Alabamians with pre-existing conditions

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in response to the White House’s release of a new executive order on health care:

“This executive order risks turning back the clock to the bad old days when many people were priced out of health insurance just because they got sick. Allowing more insurers to sell plans that don’t cover essential health benefits would weaken consumer protections under the guise of promoting consumer choice.

“These changes could open the door to a wave of ‘cheaper’ plans that cost less because they don’t provide as much coverage. By luring in many healthier people, these plans could undermine protections for folks with pre-existing conditions like cancer and diabetes by sending costs soaring for more comprehensive coverage.

“Recent cuts to the Marketplace enrollment period, enrollment assistance and outreach activities already have created unnecessary barriers for consumers and threaten to reverse gains in health coverage and care. Today’s announcement doesn’t immediately change anything, but it sows even more confusion in the health insurance market just as tens of thousands of Alabamians are getting ready to enroll for 2018 coverage. It’s more important than ever for advocates and leaders across our state to ensure that Alabamians have the information they need to find affordable coverage that’s there for them when they need it most.”

New CFPB rule on payday, title loans is a good first step that should prompt further action to protect Alabama consumers

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a new federal rule on payday and auto title loans:

“High-cost payday and title loans have sent far too many Alabamians spiraling into a long-term cycle of debt. The CFPB’s new rule is a welcome move to protect struggling families from getting stuck in deep debt. The requirement for lenders to verify borrowers’ ability to repay before lending to them is an important, common-sense step to protect consumers.

“The CFPB rule is good news, but it’s far from a cure-all. The rule will not reduce the extremely high annual interest rates that Alabama allows on short-term loans: up to 456 percent a year for payday loans, and up to 300 percent a year for title loans. The new safeguards also don’t apply to many high-cost installment loans.

“Alabama needs to build on these new federal protections by capping interest rates at a reasonable level and ensuring borrowers have a reasonable amount of time to repay what they owe. These changes would be good for consumers and good for Alabama’s economy.”

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