Connect with us

Economy

Opinion | Alabama’s working class shouldn’t be hit with a gas tax

Josh Moon

Published

on

Why is it always the responsibility of the working class in Alabama?

Everything falls to them.

Not enough money for social programs? Cut government workers.

Not enough money for health care? Cut teachers’ benefits.

Need new prisons? Take from veterans.

And now, need new roads and bridges? Take it from the folks going to work every day.

It’s nonsense, and don’t you buy for a second that this responsibility — to fix Alabama’s aging roads and bridges — falls to the working class, as Gov. Kay Ivey implied in her recent press conference announcing her proposed gas tax.

Public Service Announcement

Enough is enough.

The working class people of Alabama have footed every bill, paid FAR more in taxes than they would in almost every other state and have received by far the smallest return on their investments in this state.

Unless you’re wealthy in Alabama, your schools mostly stink, your healthcare access is limited, your access to high speed internet and public transportation is almost non-existent and your roads and bridges are deplorable.

ADVERTISEMENT

On top of that, the regulatory agencies that we pay into are God-awful, and their ineptitude has allowed our rivers and lakes to become so polluted we can’t use some of them and our government agencies to become so corrupt we can’t trust them.

And somehow, our governor has the gall to say with a straight face that we all owe more.

Sorry. No.

You know who owes more?

How about some of the companies that we keep handing out decades-long tax breaks to so they’ll relocate here or add a few dozen jobs here — the folks that send their trucks out on our roads and bridges for years without plopping a dime into the till.

Or how about the timber barons of Alabama, with their thousands of acres of land taxed at pennies on the dollar?

Or how about the special taxes for “small family farms” — some of which span thousands of acres and haul in millions of dollars annually — that allow gigantic farms to pay a flat tax rate?

In pretty much every other state, those property tax issues have been worked out in ways that make it more fair for everyone. The land isn’t taxed necessarily at the same rates as residential property, but it is taxed at rates relative to its value and production.

In Georgia, for example, timber land is taxed at roughly three times what it is in Alabama. And somehow, there’s still timber there — a million and a half more acres of it than in Alabama, in fact.

Those other states also tax their farms differently, relying on calculations that assess value related in some degree to the surrounding market values.

Those changes alone could produce an eight-figure tax revenue stream, and that’s before we even start discussing a reasonable increase in property tax rates overall.

There’s also the matter of income tax and sales tax rates in this state, which leave Alabama’s poorest paying about 10 percent of their earnings in taxes while the richest pay less than 5 percent.

If we removed the state sales tax on everything and instead imposed an across-the-board tax on everyone, we could make up hundreds of millions of dollars. And it would save working people thousands each year.

We could also stop pretending that Alabama doesn’t already have legal gambling — at three major casinos, multiple dog tracks and several bingo parlors — and isn’t surrounded by states with lotteries. Implementing an education lottery and commercial casinos would bring in roughly half a billion dollars annually, if not more.

See, I’ve just raised billions of dollars in tax revenue for this state — revenue that could fix all of the roads and bridges, pay to properly fund schools and solve the teacher shortage — and I’ve raised it while lowering the taxes of at least 60 percent of people in this state.

Look, this isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue. It isn’t a black or white one. It’s simply an issue of fairness.

And the working class people of Alabama have been treated unfairly for far too long. We’ve paid every bill, absorbed every cut and gotten every shaft.

We’ll happily pay our fair share for roads and bridges. Just as soon as everyone else pays their fair share for everything else.

 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

Advertisement

Economy

Governor announces auto supplier IAC plans Alabama expansion

IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that International Automotive Components Group North America Inc. plans to invest over $55.9 million in expansion projects that will create 182 jobs at two Alabama facilities.

“International Automotive Components is a leading global auto supplier, and I am pleased that this world-class company is growing significantly in Alabama and creating good jobs in Cottondale and Anniston,” Ivey said. “IAC’s growth plans show that Alabama’s dynamic auto industry continues to expand despite today’s challenging environment.”

Nick Skwiat is the executive vice president and president of IAC North America.

“Alabama was the logical choice due to its skilled workforce and proximity to the customer,” Skwiat said. “We are excited to see the continued growth of the automotive industry in Alabama and we plan to grow right along with it. We thank the Governor and Secretary Canfield for their leadership in this sector.”

IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County. This facility will produce door panels and overhead systems for original equipment manufacturers. That project will create 119 jobs at the production site in Cottondale.

IAC also plans to invest $21.6 million at its manufacturing facility located in the former Fort McClellan in Anniston. That East Alabama project will create another 63 jobs.

This project builds on a milestone 2014 expansion that doubled the size of the Calhoun County facility. There IAC manufactures automotive interior components and systems. Key components produced at the Anniston plant include door panels, trim systems and instrument panels for original equipment manufacturers.

Public Service Announcement

IAC Group is a leading global supplier of innovative and sustainable instrument panels, consoles, door panels, overhead systems, bumper fascias and exterior ornamentation for original equipment manufacturers.

IAC is headquartered in Luxembourg and has more than 18,000 employees at 67 locations in 17 countries. The company operates manufacturing facilities in eight U.S. states.

“With operations around the globe, IAC is the kind of high-performance company that we want in Alabama’s auto supply chain to help fuel sustainable growth,” said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “We look forward to working with IAC and facilitating its future growth in this strategic industrial sector.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Danielle Winningham is the executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority.

“International Automotive Components is a valued part of Tuscaloosa County’s automotive sector,” Winningham said. “We are grateful for IAC’s investment in our community and the career opportunities available to our area workforce as a result of their investment.”

“The City of Anniston is excited that IAC has made the decision to expand here. I have enjoyed working with the leadership at IAC, the Calhoun County EDC, and the state of Alabama to get this project finalized,” said Anniston Mayor Jack Draper. “This is even further evidence that Anniston is indeed open for business.”

Only Michigan has more automobile manufacturing jobs than the state of Alabama. Honda, Mercedes, Hyundai, Polaris, Toyota and soon Mazda all have major automobile assembly plants in the state of Alabama.

Continue Reading

Courts

Aderholt fully supports Barrett’s confirmation process

Confirmation hearings began last week and a vote on her confirmation is expected in the next week just days before the general election.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Congressman Robert Aderholt

Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, updated his constituents on the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Aderholt said, “I do support her fully and I know she will defend life, protect the Constitution, and uphold our freedoms.”

Confirmation hearings began last week and a vote on her confirmation is expected in the next week just days before the general election.

“Senate Democrats are not seriously questioning Judge Barrett on her credentials, instead they have decided to attack her character and her beliefs,” Aderholt said. “I am disappointed to see this unfold on the national stage, but I think Judge Barrett stood strong and did well during this first week of hearings.”

“While I do not have a vote in her confirmation process, I do support her fully and I know she will defend life, protect the Constitution, and uphold our freedoms when she is officially sworn in as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court,” Aderholt said.

Barrett is a Notre Dame graduate, has served on the U.S. Seventh Court of Appeals and is a former clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

“I clerked for Justice Scalia more than 20 years ago, but the lessons I learned still resonate,” Barrett said. “His judicial philosophy is mine, too: A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”

Barrett vowed to keep an open mind on any matter that comes before the court, though Democrats fear she is prepared to overturn Supreme Court precedent on abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act.

Public Service Announcement

That the Republican controlled committee will recommend that Barrett be confirmed appears certain. A vote to confirm Barrett to the nation’s highest court by the full Senate could occur just days ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

President Donald Trump has been the president of the United States for less than four years but if Barrett is confirmed, then he will have selected one third of the U.S. Supreme Court. Barrett fills a place created by the death of the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.

Aderholt is in his 12th term representing Alabama’s 4th Congressional District. He faces Democratic nominee Rick Neighbors in the Nov. 3 general election.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Economy

New unemployment claims increased last week

More people joined the unemployment rolls last week than the week before.

Micah Danney

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

There were 8,581 new unemployment claims filed in Alabama last week, up from 7,732 filed the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. 

Of the claims filed between Oct. 4 and Oct. 10, there were 3,125 related to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s 36 percent, compared to 51 percent the previous week.

Continue Reading

Economy

Governor announces $1.5 million grant to expand job training at Bevill State Community College

The expanded facility will help train people in welding and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning and other trades. 

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

Gov. Kay Ivey and the Appalachian Regional Commission this week announced a $1.5 million grant to renovate and expand a training facility at Bevill State Community College. 

The expanded facility will help train people in welding and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning and other trades. 

“Alabamians are eager to work, and we are eager for them to find jobs that will allow them to earn a good living,” Ivey said in a statement. “These funds will help more Alabamians answer the call to the state’s increasing demand for jobs in these fields. I am thankful for our partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the assistance they have provided in helping us respond to in-demand issues.”

The grant comes from Appalachian Regional Commission’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization initiative, which targets areas affected by the closing of coal mining and coal-related industries, according to a press release from Ivey’s office. 

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama.

“This grant is a shot in the arm for an Alabama economy that has maintained its poise during the cessation of coal industries and then the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” ADECA director Kenneth Boswell said in a statement. “ADECA is pleased to join with Gov. Ivey, ARC, Bevill State Community College and many other partners in this life-changing program.”

Dr. Chris Cox, Bevill State interim president, said the program will allow for scholarships for workers who lost jobs in coal-related industries.

Public Service Announcement

“This rapid training center expansion will help establish a career pipeline to support local manufacturing industries, will serve to diversify the region’s economy and will increase post-secondary students’ access to advanced training and completion of industry-recognized certifications,” Cox said in a statement.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement