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ACPP news releases
New payday lending rules would be a good first step, but rate cap still needed to help consumers
ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Thursday, March 26, 2015, in response to President Obama’s speech in Birmingham on proposed new federal payday lending regulations:
“It’s past time to rein in high-cost payday lending. The proposed new federal regulations that President Obama talked about in Birmingham today would be a big step toward keeping consumers out of debt traps in Alabama and across the country.
“The safeguards that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering would make life better for thousands of families in Alabama. A mandatory cooling-off period after repeated loans would protect borrowers and encourage responsible lending. It’s also heartening to see a proposal aimed at taking into account borrowers’ ability to repay loans.
“As promising as these proposals are, work remains to be done. The CFPB should work to require all payday and title lenders to evaluate borrowers’ repayment ability. And the most important step – reining in the triple-digit annual interest rates on these loans – requires action from our state leaders. By capping these rates at 36 percent, Alabama lawmakers can strengthen our communities and protect families from the high costs of high-cost lending.”
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."