Senate Republicans float income tax break in “Fighting for Alabama” agenda

January 12, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Ahead of what is expected to be a quiet and relatively non-controversial Legislative Session, Senate Republicans released a four-pronged agenda highlighting priorities that include an income tax break and a push for broadband in rural communities.

Republican senators announced the agenda — notably less partisan and low key than previous years — before heading into the second day of this year’s session on Tuesday.

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Finance Director: “We are really excited about this budget”

January 12, 2018

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, January 10, 2018, Alabama Finance Director Clinton Carter met with journalists at the Capitol to discuss the state’s budgets.  Carter briefed the press on Gov. Kay Ivey’s General Fund and Education Trust Fund budget proposals.

Carter said, “We are really excited about this budget.”  Carter said that state revenues, “Are historically great by all measures.”  “The economy really is booming.”  Carter said that state income tax revenues and sales tax revenues, which are earmarked for the education trust fund (ETF), are at all-time highs.  The revenues funding the general fund, primarily insurance premium taxes,

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State Rep. Danny Garrett will seek re-election

January 11, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

State Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Tussville, will seek re-election this year.

Garrett filed qualifying papers this week with the Alabama Republican Party to run for another term representing House District 44. Garrett, who was first elected in 2014, currently represents part of Jefferson County including Trussville, Clay and parts of Pinson.

Garrett has served as a member of the influential House Ways and Means education budget committee, which oversees drafting of the Education Trust Fund budget; the Education Policy Committee; the Small Business and Commerce Committee; and the newly created Fiscal Responsibility Committee.

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Governor pushes state employee pay raises, investment in education in first State of the State

January 10, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

A year ago, former Gov. Robert Bentley delivered his last State of the State address, setting goals for a Legislative Session that not only would see many of his priorities fall short but encompass the end his political career.

Last night, Gov. Kay Ivey delivered her first — an annual address that set broad and wide-ranging priorities for a state government returning to Montgomery fatigued from scandal and ready for a fresh start.

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House approve simplified tax form

April 7, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, April 6, 2017, the Alabama House of Representatives approved a measure to create a simplified tax form option for Alabama income tax filers similar to the federal 1040EZ. House Bill 346 was sponsored by State Representative Chris Blackshear (R-Smiths). The bill would also allow certain filers who forego deductions to receive a tax cut.

Rep. Blackshear said in a statement that, “Creation of this new, simplified form is a victory for taxpayers who utilize it because they can finish their taxes within minutes with no complicated calculations, and it is a victory for the state because it brings added efficiency and reduces the man hours needed to process tax returns. At the same time, it rewards taxpayers who use the form and do not claim deductions by providing them with a tax cut.”
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Governor skirts the details on education budgets at Higher Ed Day rally

February 24, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — Speaking to a crowd of college students gathered on the steps of the Alabama State House on Thursday, Gov. Robert Bentley promised to continue his support for higher education.

“We have great universities in this State,” Bentley said. “Funding for universities has to be adequate. It’s never enough, but we really need to continue the increase that we’ve tried to do. In fact, every year, in the budgets that I’ve submitted, we have always increased it every year for the past seven years.”

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Task force to explore removing grocery tax

February 22, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Want to repeal the tax on food in Alabama?

There’s a task force for that.

In what has quickly become Gov. Robert Bentley’s go-to move for dealing with complicated issues that are popular with voters, the Governor on Tuesday signed an executive order forming a committee to study the effects of removing the grocery sales tax.

“I’ve traveled the State, and I know that people not only want good jobs, they want to feed their families,” Bentley said. “I’d like to see this tax – this 4 percent – repealed and not replaced with any tax burdens on these working families.”
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Finance, Revenue officials suggest reforms for budget process

December 15, 2016

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Legislators are attempting to find a long-term fix for Alabama’s seemingly endless General Fund budgeting woes. But that long-term fix seems far in the distance.

Today, officials from the executive branch offered their input to the Legislative Task Force on Budget Reform, a joint committee of the Alabama Legislature tasked with finding that solution.

Newly appointed State Finance Director Clinton Carter posed several ideas to the joint committee, including reforming agency budget rollovers and implementing a “race to the bottom” budgeting concept.

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Alabama Saw Second Worst Education Funding Decline Since 2008, Report Says

October 28, 2016

By Chip Brownlee
The Alabama Political Reporter

Montgomery—Of all the 50 states across the US, Alabama’s K-12 education budget saw the nation’s second worst decline in funding per student during the Great Recession and that funding has not yet been restored to pre-2008 levels, according to a new non-partisan report.

Alabama’s K-12 education funding per student in fiscal year 2017, which began Oct.1, is still 14.2 percent less than it was in fiscal year 2008, according to the report published by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The numbers are adjusted for inflations.

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BCA Encourages People To Give Money For Private School Vouchers Instead Of Paying State Income Tax

October 3, 2016

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

When attendees at a recent Business Council of Alabama conference at Point Clear opened their “goody” bags, one of their treats was a flier asking “Do you pay Alabama income tax?” Open the flier and readers were told to “redirect your tax liability and provide a scholarship.”

This not-so-subtle message was delivered by way of the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund, the scholarship granting organization (SGO) set up by former governor Bob Riley and operated by a group in Florida. And it was attached to a ready-to-be blown-up colorful beach ball emblazoned with the Riley SGO logo.
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