ACPP news releases
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."
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."
ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's release of data showing that more than 180,000 Alabama children – nearly one in four of the state's public school students – attend schools that are using the community eligibility option under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to serve free school meals to all of their students in 2014-15:
"No child should go hungry. No matter where they grow up or how little their families make, all children deserve the chance to succeed in the classroom and in life. Community eligibility is a huge step toward making that goal a reality.
"Nearly 350 Alabama schools are seizing this opportunity to help students learn and thrive. Our state's schools are participating at nearly twice the national rate, and we encourage even more schools to take part next year."
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 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."