DECATUR – State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) announced today that he plans to seek reelection to his current seat representing Alabama’s 3rd Senate District. Orr, who also serves as Chairman of the Senate General Fund Budget Committee, said over the past three years the Legislature has worked to lower unemployment and improve the private sector economy, decrease government spending and make state government more accountable to taxpayers.
“Since 2010, Alabama’s unemployment rate has dropped, we have implemented more than $700 million in spending cuts in state government, and we have worked each year to pass laws that make our government operations more efficient and accountable to Alabama taxpayers,” Orr said. “My top focus will continue to be on improving Alabama’s private sector economy, cutting wasteful spending and ensuring that our tax dollars are spent responsibly. It is a great honor to serve the people of Limestone, Madison and Morgan Counties and I humbly ask for your support in 2014.”
With a focus of spurring economic growth in Alabama, Orr sponsored the Major 21st Century Manufacturing Zone Act, which allows cities to recruit large economic development projects using tax increment financing (“TIF”) districts. Orr said the legislation will help spur economic development and create high-tech manufacturing jobs.
“As the economic development process becomes more competitive, it’s important that we have the necessary tools to compete with states around the country,” Orr said. “This legislation not only ensures that we’re able to compete, but it’s already being used in offers that will bring new jobs to Alabama.”
Orr also sponsored the Agricultural Economic Growth Incentive Act, which provides a partial income tax credit for the purchase and installation of irrigation systems or the development of irrigation reservoirs and water wells. Research shows that if the state were to convert 50 percent of the current row crop agricultural acreage to irrigation, the statewide impact would be more than $200 million per year.
Heavily involved in the local community, Orr was instrumental in securing stimulus funding for the new James Clemens High School in Madison and for Hartselle High School. He was also successful in obtaining state funding for the Robotics Technology Park in Limestone County, Alabama Center for the Arts in Decatur as well as numerous grants for landscaping, directional signage and other enhancements and road projects across Madison, Limestone and Morgan counties.
In the days after deadly tornados ravaged much of North Alabama in 2011, Orr sponsored legislation that quickly passed to give schools increased flexibility in making up missed school days in addition to a bill granting extensions for tax incentives and abatements for businesses and properties damaged or destroyed by the tornados.
Recognizing that Alabama’s public employee pension program was in danger of bankrupting state budgets within the next decade, Orr helped spearhead the effort to ensure the long-term sustainability of state-funded pensions, resulting in a $5 billion savings in taxpayer resources.
“One of the most significant accomplishments over the past four years was enacting a common-sense reform to our pension program that most importantly protects the retirement the state has promised its employees, and saves billions of dollars in taxpayer resources.”
In 2011, Orr sponsored a pair of bills that require greater transparency in the filing of campaign contributions for elected officials and increased disclosure for paid political advertisements.
“Alabamians shouldn’t have to rely on guesswork to figure out who’s trying to influence our elections,” Orr said. “These two bills overhaul a broken system that made it nearly impossible to follow the money in elections.”
Aiming to combat fraud and abuse of state government programs, Orr sponsored legislation to curb the number of frivolous lawsuits filed by state prisoners and a bill to fight nepotism in state hiring practices.
Orr also sponsored legislation to crack down on synthetic drugs known as “spice” or “bath salts,” targeting an increasing problem throughout the state particularly among young people. The legislation will help protect Alabama neighborhoods by making it a felony to possess, manufacture, deliver or traffic one of these synthetic, cannabinoid-like substances.