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Alabama Free Market Alliance Opposes $150 million House GOP Tax Increase

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, May 11, the Founder of the Alabama Free Market Alliance Paul Reynolds released a statement opposing the tax package being promoted by Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Alabama) and his House GOP leadership team.

Reynolds wrote that, “Smaller government should be aspirational, not a fear tactic.”

Reynolds called the assertion that the state needs to raise taxes to match the growth in government spending, “An astounding – and baffling – assertion.”

Reynolds wrote, “Since when is there a requirement in this state that government must grow? Our conservative leaders have done admirable work since 2011 of cutting waste and creating efficiency. However, now is not the time to stop. Obviously, there is more work to be done. The people of Alabama have allocated to our state government an amount certain in each of the previous years. It is incumbent upon those in public office to operate our government within the means of that amount.”

Reynolds said, “Those of us who view smaller government as a virtue look forward to a less burdensome regulatory environment and greater individual freedom. One day soon, we might even be able to enjoy a return of our own hard- earned money in the form of a tax cut.”

Reynolds wrote, “There are ways the state can save money, but it’s going to be tougher than waving the tax wand whereby other people’s money magically shows up in the state’s wallet.”

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Reynolds wrote that there are ideas to cut state spending, “Sen. Arthur Orr has a package of bills to reduce the taxpayers’ obligations under the state retirement system. Sen. Shay Shelnutt has legislation to require that individual counties take responsibility for the retirement costs of county officials (why in the world would the State pay for that, anyway?). Rep. Will Ainsworth has legislation to prohibit earmarking of revenue and allow more room for flexibility and better stewardship of tax dollars.”  Reynolds also favors that the state operate a single, unified budget.

Reynolds wrote, “We have a representative democracy. Voters elect someone to go to Montgomery because they are too busy minding their stores, plowing their fields, or taking care of their children. However, here’s the deal that’s struck: the elected official must carry the collective ideals of the voters with them. In the present issue, that means a commitment to not raising the tax burden on Alabama families and businesses.”  Reynolds wrote that if, “The absence of some government program becomes too much to endure, then the electorate will let their representatives know and permit an allocation of revenue to pay for it. Unless and until that unlikely scenario happens, conservative principles should prevail. Having spoken to groups across the state this year, I can say definitively that voters have zero appetite for any tax hikes.”

Similarly, former State Senator John Rice (R) with the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government held a press conference in Montgomery on Monday in which he said that the Representatives in Alabama need to hear from all of us on this matter. “All we ask, is if you feel the state should not raise taxes and grant a gambling monopoly, then call your representative and ask him/her to VOTE NO. Please let them here from you. They really deserve to hear from you.”

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Meanwhile Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) continues traveling the state campaigning for more revenues. The Governor said, “We are facing a tremendous crisis in our General Fund Budget that will impact every Alabama County if not addressed by the Legislature.”

Gov. Bentley said in a statement on Monday, “I am committed to finding new revenue so our State agencies can continue to provide essential services to Alabamians. For decades, we have failed to address the way our non-education state agencies are funded. With no one-time money available to support the General Fund and debts that are owed, we have a real crisis on our hands. I encourage Alabamians to let their elected representatives know that these cuts are unacceptable.”

The Governor’s $541 million plan to increase taxes on cigarettes, tobacco, banks, insurance, rental/leased cars, car sales, public utilities, etc. appears to have stalled.  Meanwhile Speaker Hubbard is expected to attempt to force his more modest $100 to $150 million tax plan through the House on Tuesday and Thursday in what could be marathon sessions.  Hubbard’s plan supplements the tax package by accepting an offer from the Poarch band of Creek Indians (PCI) of $250 million for an exclusive gambling monopoly in Alabama.

Former State Senator Scott Beason (R-Gardendale) told the Alabama Political Reporter that the State is doing their budgeting all wrong.  They are asking the department heads how much money do you need to keep doing what they are doing and then coming up with an amount or revenue needed to achieve that number.

Sen. Beason said that the State should instead come up with the expected revenue available and then prepare a budget in order of priorities. Beason said that some in Montgomery are using the Obama playbook and are identifying the programs that people actually like and are threatening those programs in order to try to get people in line behind the tax increases.  Sen. Beason is the senior policy analyst for the Alabama Free Market Alliance.

The House is expected to address the Speaker’s plan on Tuesday and Thursday but it faces an unlikely fate in the more conservative Alabama Senate.

Paul Reynolds is Alabama’s National Committeeman on the Republican National Committee.

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Aerospace and Defense

Jones criticized for voting to limit Trump’s war powers authority

Brandon Moseley

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Thursday, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) voted in favor of S.J.Res.68, a resolution which directs the removal of United States military from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress. Jones has been criticized by Republicans for voting to limit President Donald J. Trump’s war powers on Iran.

“Before a President can lead us into war, he or she must first earn the support of the American people and also fulfill their solemn constitutional obligation to seek approval from Congress,” Sen. Jones said in a statement. “While the President has the power to protect Americans in the case of an imminent attack, that authority does not extend to committing our service members to long-term hostilities unilaterally. This resolution sends a strong message that we will follow the Constitution and we will not send our troops into harm’s way without the serious consideration and consent of the Congress.”

Trump Victory National Finance Committee member Perry O. Hooper Jr. released a statement in response.

“Senator Jones once again turned his back on Alabama and voted as the leftwing Democrats commanded. He has no regard for the values, opinions or views of Alabamians,” Hooper said. “He sees us as deplorables just like the elites of the Democratic party who have funded 80 percent of his doomed campaign for re-election.:

Hooper stated, “I whole heartily support the President who stated ‘We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness… If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal. The Democrats are only doing this as an attempt to embarrass the Republican Party.’”

“The Commander-in-chief must be free to work with his staff and his military leaders to conduct covert operations like the one that eliminated Iran’s terrorist-in-chief General Soleimani,” Hooper added. “You can’t micromanage the war on terrorism. The Democrats in Congress are so filled with Trump Derangement Syndrome that no matter how much it would benefit our country and the world; they would never give Trump a “victory”. If it came down to it, they would leak everything to the media no matter what the consequences.”

Senator Jones is a cosponsor of the legislation and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Eight moderate Republicans voted with the Democrats on the resolution.

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Senator Jones has also been criticized by Republicans for his comments that he was “appalled” by Pres. Trump’s actions following his acquittal on both Articles of Impeachment.

“Newsflash for Senator Doug Jones: Most Alabamians have been appalled by his actions his entire time in office,” former Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “It’s about time we send Doug home, and replace him with someone who understands our values. Alabamians deserve a Senator they can be proud of again.”

Sessions is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Jones’ Senate seat.

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The Republican primary will be on March 3.

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Moore says the Constitution is under God’s laws

Brandon Moseley

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Saturday, Senate candidate former Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) presented his views on the Constitution and the sovereignty of God to attendees of the Conservative Leadership Conference in Florence.

“The form of government is both the Declaration and the Constitution,” Judge Moore said.

Moore argued that the rights granted to the citizens in the Bill of Rights do not come from the Constitution itself; but rather from God and the Constitution is there to protect those rights that God has ordained.

“The Constitution is the supreme law of the land; but the Constitution is under the rule of God,” Moore stated. “We as Americans, as Republicans as Democrats should go back to the Constitution.”

“Democrats are trying to move us toward a socialist government,” Moore warned. “The same people who want to take our guns away want to take prayer out of schools.”

“Most Christians do not understand the Ten Commandments,” Moore said. The first four are the duties that we owe to God and the last six are the duties that we owe to each other.

Moore quoted from Washington, Blackstone, and the 1954 legislation that inserted “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance.

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Moore said that Project Birmingham used Russian style tactics to undermine the support for Roy Moore and build up support for Doug Jones. Moore also blamed Richard Shelby for his defeat.

Moore said that Democrats have used similar smears liked the ones used against him in 2017 against Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas.

“When you vote is stolen from you by tactics that is wrong,” Moore said/

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Moore warned that the greatest threat to this nation is the decline in morality. “We are at a critical point in our history.”

Moore warned that no nation could take us down from without; but that we could fall from within and warned of the growing agenda of the LGBTQ community.

“We are starting to recognize transgender rights above the right of your rights,” Moore warned.

“We are five votes (in the Senate) away from overturning everything our country is founded upon,” Moore warned if the Equality Act is passed. The Equality Act, “Which sounds good is about to take away the most precious thing our country is founded upon: our freedom of conscious.”

Moore warned that the legislation would lead to men in girls’ bathrooms and in girls’ sports.

Moore said that when man invents rights that are not from God it leads to problems. The right to privacy was invented and from that came the right to abortion, which has resulted in the deaths of millions, the right to sodomy, and the right to gay marriage. Now we are about to create a right of transgenderism.

Moore said that marriage was ordained by God as between one man and one woman. “If you can make it between two men you could make it between five men and between a man and a horse.”

“How do you correct it?” Moore asked rhetorically. “You recognize the sovereignty of God.”

“I have been mocked and removed from office twice,” Moore said.

“I am sick of seeing politicians carrying Bibles and doing nothing,” Moore said. The national debt was $5 trillion in 2005 now it is $23 trillion. They say they are Pro-Life and yet Planned Parenthood continues to get taxpayer dollars.

“We keep quiet because we are afraid it is going to offend anybody,” Moore said. “I couldn’t keep quiet about Obergefell. I wrote an opinion in API.”

Moore is a candidate for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary on March 3.

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McCutcheon is in “wait and see mode” on medical marijuana bill

Brandon Moseley

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Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) last Thursday was asked by reporters where he stood on pending medical marijuana legislation.

“I am in a wait and see mode,” McCutcheon told reporters. “The sponsor of the bill has done a lot of work.”

On Tuesday, State Senator Tim Melson (R-Florence) introduced a bill to legalize tightly controlled medical cannabis. The Medical cannabis bill introduced on Tuesday is Senate Bill 165.

“We have a letter from the Attorney General,” recommending that the legislature reject the bill.

Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) is arguing that while marijuana remains a federally controlled substance the legislature should not pass a state law that would be noncompliant with federal law. Marshall believes that if medical marijuana has any medical benefit then the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be the appropriate authority to approve such legislation and the state should wait for FDA to act.

33 states already have legalized medical marijuana.

“It brings up a legal question when you get a legal opinion from the attorney general office,” McCutcheon explained. “It answers some of my questions and also on the pro and the con there were some questions raised in the legal community.”

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McCutcheon said, “That is why we are in the mode that we are in.”

Melson introduced a medical marijuana bill last year during the 2019 regular session. That bill passed the Senate; but had difficulty getting out of committee in the Alabama House of Representatives. Instead of passing medical marijuana legislation the legislature passed a bill extending Leni’s Law and Carly’s law and establishing the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission tasked with making a recommendation to the legislature.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission was chaired by Sen. Melson and met monthly from August to November. In December, the commission voted in favor of a draft proposal recommending that the state allow licensed medical providers to prescribe marijuana based medications to patients with a demonstrated need. The state would create the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission to regulate medical cannabis in the state. Farmers, processors, transporters, and dispensaries would have to get a license from the Commission and product would be strictly regulated.

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Despite the Commission’s recommendation, SB165 remains highly controversial in the legislature and there is expected to be considerable opposition to the bill. SB165 is 82 pages long.

SB165 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Judiciary Committee Chairman Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) told the Alabama Political Reporter that there will be a public hearing on SB165 on Wednesday, at 8:30 a.m. in the Alabama Statehouse room 825. Opponents and proponents will both be given the opportunity to voice their opinions.

Thursday was the fourth day of the 2020 legislative session.

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Elections

Congressional candidates call on Sessions, Byrne to stand up for South Alabama

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At a rare joint press conference, the Democratic Candidates for the First Congressional District called on Rep. Bradley Byrne and former Sen. Jeff Sessions to stand up for South Alabama following the Trump Administration’s proposal to cut nearly $300 million slated for projects awarded to Austal.

“The current administration’s decision to divert that funding from Austal to build the border wall is harmful to our community and will potentially put good jobs at risk,” said Dr. James Averhart, CW05, USMC retired. “This is nothing more than a political stunt on the backs of the hard-working men and women of South Alabama.”

Over the years, South Alabama has become a hub for shipbuilding and defense projects developing ships and planes for the United States military.

“While the President may be comfortable playing political games with our communities, our representatives must stand strong against this disastrous decision,” said Dr. Kiani Gardner, a scientist and professor. “We are grateful Senator Jones is speaking out against it and the devastating impacts it could have on our communities.”

This matter transcends partisan politics, our Republican representatives must stand with Senator Jones and tell President Trump to find a better way to protect our Southern border,” said Rick Collins, a longtime Mobile businessman.

This is only the latest Trump Administration proposals that could have devastating impacts for the local economy. Recently, the administration proposed new tariffs that would have a significant impact on Airbus’ local operation.

 

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