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Opinion | The Alabama Democrats have a plan you’ll like. No, really

The 2023 Democratic agenda is full of very popular ideas. Almost none will pass. And that’s a problem we should fix.

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The Alabama House Democrats have an agenda for the 2023 Legislative Session. 

You’re going to like it. 

Seriously. You will. Doesn’t matter which party you usually pull for. Doesn’t matter if you’re watching Fox News while reading this. If you’re an average, working-class Alabamian, who just wants a government that makes a little sense and doesn’t screw you over at every turn, listen up. 

During a press conference on Monday, the House Dems went through their proposed plan for the session. It was one of the most reasonable and grounded plans for governance that I can recall in quite awhile – from either side – and one that should be, setting aside biases, very popular. 

A few examples to make my point: 

Democrats want to repeal the state’s grocery tax. You know, the tax we charge to put food on the family table every night. 

Democrats have the crazy idea that taxing the food at every step prior to you laying it on the belt at the supermarket checkout is more than enough. There are better ways to fund government than by charging working families an additional 4 percent to eat. 

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This has long been a Democratic proposal and was recently taken up by some Republicans as well, so there’s already bipartisan support for this. But it helps working families, so who knows. 

Speaking of working folks, the Democrats also would like to repeal the overtime tax. 

You know what that is? That’s the tax – the extra tax on top of the other taxes – that you get charged in this state when you receive overtime pay. 

Stop and think about that for a second. On top of already handing over a third of your paycheck to taxes – and then paying more taxes to buy food – in Alabama, we tax the workers who are putting in extra time even more. 

Honestly, I can’t even contemplate the gall of proposing such a tax. How did this come to be? What politician saw a person putting in extra work time to bring a little more home to support the family and thought, “that person could afford to pay more in taxes”? And then who went along with it? 

Anyway, Democrats would like to repeal that abomination. 

Have you heard anything so far you disagree with? 

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How about expanding Medicaid and bringing billions in revenue, improving the health of more than 300,000 Alabamians and saving dozens of rural hospitals? At this point, is there anyone out there who thinks Medicaid expansion is a bad idea? 

Look at the way it’s been a success in other states, including other red states, like Kentucky. The healthcare options for all citizens have been improved and access to care has been significantly increased. 

And best of all: the revenue generated from expansion almost pays for the costs. Should we ever force our state leaders to pass meaningful gambling legislation that finally regulates and properly taxes the gaming that already exists in Alabama, we could more than pay for any additional costs with a single dime moved from any other agency’s budget. 

But there I go getting all caught up in a world of Democratic proposals, where government actually makes sense. 

You want to hear something crazy instead? The Democrats also have an abortion proposal that isn’t controversial. 

They want to add rape and incest exceptions to the Republicans’ total abortion ban law. It’s hard to get agreement on pretty much anything abortion-related, but according to a recent poll of Alabama citizens, nearly 90 percent support such exceptions. 

Another popular idea, according to polling: expanding voting access by offering early voting opportunities and no-excuse absentee ballot voting. Both are supported by a large majority of Alabamians, and both increase access to voting for working people while not increasing in any way the chance for fraud. 

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In fact, we essentially offered both options during the pandemic and then-Secretary of State John Merrill reported no issues. 

Democrats also want to reimplement the requirements for concealed carry permits – a proposal supported by law enforcement all over the state and something that remains popular with the majority of voters. 

Also, they want to ban trigger action devices – devices that when placed on handguns will allow them to function more like fully automatic weapons. 

I’ve not seen any polling on that specific issue, but by all means, let me know how fewer automatic weapons floating around the streets is a bad or unpopular idea. 

So, there you go. The 2023 Alabama House Democratic Caucus agenda. 

You like all of it. All of it would probably help you and your family. Almost none of it will pass, because Republicans hold supermajorities in both houses. 

Which seems like a problem we should do something about.

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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.

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