Alabama pays its Governor $112,895 annually (if he’s even accepting the pay), according to data from Stateline this week. Thirty-four pay more, 15 less. That’s almost $18,000 less than the U.S. average of $130,595.
Alabama’s compensation is lower than any of its neighbors. Mississippi pays its chief executive $122,160, Tennessee $170,340, Georgia $139,339, and Florida $130,273.
See the whole list.
Last night, Gov Bentley gave the State of the State address, video and text at the Governor’s office. Wide debridement and vacuum assisted closure of the state budget seems the best summation.
House Minority Leader, Craig Ford, gave the Democratic Party response, the text of which can be found at WHNT, (BTW, any one have a link to video of his speech) which noted the minimal to low taxes paid by large Alabama corporations and promised an end to the grocery sales tax. Always interesting to see such words but legislation (and the necessary consensus building) would be better.
And FWIW, a Local copy of General Fund and Education Trust Fund Monthly net receipts report, which shows comparisons to last year’s receipts, etc. This is findable thru the Central Accounting Reports at open.alabama.gov/spending. Some of the reports there run to several hundred pages, so pack a large lunch.
Candidates put all their cards on the table
In this final post on the issues comparing Ron Sparks and Robert Bentley, let us discuss what both gubernatorial candidates consider
the most important issue to voters this election cycle: jobs
Both candidates know that 9% unemployment is unacceptable and that at least a quarter million Alabamians need jobs for our state to reach full employment (5.2%). However, they differ vastly in how the government can help Alabama’s unemployed get back to work.
Ron Sparks believes that the government has a role in helping Alabamians in a tough spot. He plans to provide nearly 100,000 jobs and create over $900 million in new revenue for the state. His primary focus is to invest $1.4 billion in a road and bridge program and to regulate and tax gambling at least 25%. His economic development plan breaks down his outlook for job and revenue creation in Alabama.
Robert Bentley believes that the best way for the government to create jobs is to create an environment that equips people and businesses with the tools to grow and create jobs. At the Athens State debate, he said, “We need to give tax breaks to businesses, especially local companies. We need to understand that jobs are created by free enterprise, not the government. We don’t need more government jobs.” Bentley details his entire plan in a 47 page PDF, “Putting Alabamians Back to Work“.
Image used with permission
Current and Pending Legislation
Both candidates are using current or pending legislation as active parts of their jobs platforms.
Robert Bentley was the primary sponsor of the Reemployment Act of 2010 which has passed both houses of the legislature and been signed into law by Governor Riley. The law gives tax credits to Alabama employers who hire persons currently collecting (or with expired) unemployment benefits. The credits vary depending on the employee’s wage and can be claimed after the employee works 12 consecutive months. The credit does not apply if the employee hired makes less than $10 per hour. Bentley promotes the legislation as a short term solution to create 5,000 new jobs.
Ron Sparks is promoting a $1.4 billion investment into road and bridge infrastructure. The $1 billion portion of his plan is in fact Amendment 3, to be voted on Tuesday, which you can read more about here. The additional $400 million in his plan is an initial surge of money to go into infrastructure immediately. Sparks claims that his plan will create 39,200 jobs and have a total economic impact of $2.7 billion.
Gambling in Alabama
Continue reading “Sparks and Bentley on Jobs (and Gambling too)”
Ron Sparks has two new TV ads that went up last night in what the campaign called “a major statewide buy.”
The second ad hits Bentley on an issue that has already apparently cost him support, his campaign help from AEA and his difficulty explaining it.
Continue reading “Two New TV Spots from Sparks Campaign”
Did you see the results from the poll from the University of South Alabama Polling Group that was jointly commissioned by the Press-Register, Birmingham News, and Huntsville Times? The poll was taken Oct. 17 – 21 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 points.
- Republican Robert Bentley has apparently taken some hits over the AEA connection as his lead in the Governor’s race is down to 45% -36% over Democrat Ron Sparks. That cuts the lead in half from the previous poll cited that shows Bentley leading 53% – 33%.
- Jim Folsom (D) leads Kay Ivey (R), 43% – 36%, in the race for Lt. Governor. Ivey says her polling shows the race “competitive” and that the “the tide has turned in our direction.” But wasn’t she supposed to be ahead already?
- The poll shows Luther Strange (R) with a 47% – 33% lead over James Anderson (D) in the race for Attorney General.
- 59% of respondents say they favor a state lottery if the proceeds go to education. 48% are in favor of allowing casino gambling in resort areas.
Check out the whole story here.
I was unable to see the gubernatorial debate last night though I look forward to seeing it.
What was your impression? Did anyone land any haymakers?
Note: This the second in a series of posts looking at how the candidates compare on issues.
Education has been a polarizing issue in Alabama for years. Let’s consider the positions of Alabama gubernatorial candidates Ron Sparks and Robert Bentley.
Ron Sparks has been adamant about the need for an education lottery to fund Alabama schools. On his website, he touts the potential for $418 million dollars of projected annual revenue to the state by instituting a lottery. Last year, Sparks told OurPrattville.com, “Less than 7% of our children get pre-K, we’re only graduating 60% of our children, and those who do graduate only 16% are going on to get a college education.” Sparks calls his initiative the LifeStart Education Lottery.
At a debate in Arab, Bentley made controversial remarks about opportunities for children to get a college degree. Sparks responded in a TV ad saying, “Not every child will get a college degree, but every child rich or poor deserves a chance to go to College.”
At the same Arab debate, Bentley said he is personally against the lottery and reminded attendees, “We have a governor sentenced to jail as a result of things he did connected to that lottery.”
For those of you that haven’t yet decided how you feel on the lottery, Walt pointed out a great series by Left In Alabama on the issue that plays it straight throughout. Give it a read if you’ve got some time.
Image used with permission
Just Monday, Ron Sparks had an op-ed piece in the Montgomery Advertiser outlining initiatives, including his position on charter schools. In it he states the following:
Continue reading “Sparks and Bentley on Education”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Bentley might be regretting the decision to accept campaign support from Tuscaloosa businessman Stan Pate now that their bond has apparently broken down.
This morning, George Talbot of the Press Register reports that Pate provided emails showing Bentley’s campaign used him as a middle man to get direct assistance from the Alabama Education Association (AEA). Such assistance hasn’t been listed on campaign finance disclosures and has been routinely denied by Bentley and his campaign.
In Talbot’s article, Pate alleges that Bentley’s campaign manager contacted him in order to set up a series of robocalls in the days leading up to the hotly-contested July 13 primary in which Bentley was being out-raised and out-spent by front-runner and AEA foe, Bradley Byrne. Pate says he then corresponded with a public relations manager at AEA, David Stout, who sent a proposed script for Bentley to record and that AEA would send out on its phone network, Talbot reports.
The Bentley campaign declined to comment when asked about the correspondence with AEA, except to provide copies of its most recent financial report on file with the Alabama secretary of state.
“The report is our response,” said Rebekah Mason, a spokeswoman for Bentley.
AEA chairman Paul Hubbert also declined comment, saying only that the association had met all its legal requirements under the Fair Campaign Practices Act.
For people who follow Alabama politics closely, I don’t think today’s news is all that shocking as much as it’s another chapter in Pate’s wildcard vendetta-holding biography. That, and there’s nothing much else going on during this election season now that the AEA isn’t interested in the big state races anymore… hm.
As recently as August 4, though, the Bentley-Pate thing started as a minor – if characteristically weird – public squabble when Pate accused sworn-enemy Governor Bob Riley of trying to curry Bentley’s favor by offering to raise money for Bentley’s campaign if he’d “look after” Riley’s children once he took office.
Continue reading “The Pate Factor”
Note: This is intended to be the first in a series of posts looking at how the candidates compare on issues.
Immigration is a hot topic across the country, and Alabama is no exception. Both Robert Bentley and Ron Sparks have talked about how they will handle illegal immigration if given the opportunity by Alabama voters.
Sparks has said on video that he’d veto an immigration bill if it was like the new law in Arizona. When asked about this law and its application in Alabama at the gubernatorial debate held in Tuscaloosa he said that while he didn’t support Arizona’s law, he would pass, “one of the toughest laws in the country” and then goes on to say he would pass, “THE toughest immigration law in the country.” Below are a few additional notes from his comments:
- Undocumented workers would get no bail if, “picked up by the police.”
- Illegal immigrants should receive no government services or assistance.
- Contractors must hire Alabamians for jobs funded by state monies.
- A comprehensive federal immigration law is needed.
Sparks does not target immigration as a key issue on his website.
At the same debate in Tuscaloosa, Bentley said the federal government failed in preventing illegal immigration, citing a, “500% increase in illegal immigrants in this state in the last ten years.” Bentley also came out hard against illegal immigration in his first and second general election commercials. Below are some bullet points from his commercials and website:
- We can’t wait on the federal government for immigration reform.
- No sanctuary cities in Alabama.
- Businesses that hire illegal immigrants will be fined.
- Keep Alabama a right to work state (Sparks agreed with this at one of the debates).
- Government agencies and state contractors must participate in E-Verify. He will also “support” it for private businesses.
- Illegal immigrants cannot receive any state benefits or entitlements, including Medicaid.
- Fine businesses that, “knowingly hire illegal immigrants.”
If you have other notes about their records or statements, let us know in the comments. Also, you can view the full immigration segment from the Tuscaloosa debate here.
The Sparks campaign put out a handout last week reminding us of the October 22nd voter registration deadline and highlighting some key platform points.
Sparks Mailer Back
Sparks Mailer Front
He’s also been on the radio for a few days with a new spot called “Just Ron”. He spends most of the ad time criticizing Bentley for adding “Doctor” to his first name in an unsuccessful effort to have it included on the ballot before the Republican primary.
Note: The Sparks flier is best described as a handout and not a mail piece The post has been edited appropriately.
I have heard from several that Republican gadfly Stan Pate is no longer in the corner of GOP gubernatorial candidate Robert Bentley.
For example, I heard the suggestion in this reader’s email first, but then more definitively later.
Received this email from the Jefferson Co Republican Party, who had been sharing the Campaign Hdqs with Bentley. All the campaign signs except the big banners hung on the the top of the building are gone. Landlord was Stan Pate. Wondering if there has been a falling out between Pate and Bentley.
Unfortunately the Jefferson County Bentley for Governor Headquarters is no longer located on Highway 31 (Montgomery Hwy) in Hoover, therefore our phone banks will not be able to be held there. The phone banks will be held at the Jefferson County Republican Party HQ, which is across 20th Avenue from Vulcan next to McDonald’s, as they have been the past several weeks (see address below). Until further notice we’ll be making calls from there.
I bet there are readers who can elaborate.
Robert Bentley has a new ad out that touches on health care…
What’s your takeaway from this ad?
Republican Robert Bentley and Democrat Ron Sparks face off in the November election for governor.
Ron Sparks on what is ailing Alabama in a new TV spot from the campaign:
The Democrat faces Republican nominee Robert Bentley.
So… Riley is cutting funds to education because BP isn’t paying a $148 million claim from the state. The Montgomery Advertiser reports that BP hasn’t handed the money over “in part, because of litigation filed by Alabama Attorney General Troy King against BP.”
I realize that this gives Riley an opportunity to heap ashes on his antagonist King, but some thoughts come to mind here. Let’s see if I can organize them.
- BP has not ruled out eventual payment.
- King tells the Advertiser that other states who have not sued have not received payment either.
- Riley on the suit filed by King: “He did it without consulting me or local officials on our coast.” That definitely speaks to the strained relationship between the two.
- Riley: “No other state’s attorney general has sued BP at this time and King’s lawsuit stopped our ability to recover these tax dollars before the end of this fiscal year.” Here’s what I don’t get. No other state has sued at this time, and those states haven’t gotten their money either. But Riley’s point is that if Alabama had not sued, Alabama would have its money, unlike any other state?
- What in this episode really offers evidence that the lawsuit is a bad idea given that 1) other states who have not sued have not received payment either, and 2) BP has not ruled out eventual payment? BP has given no assurance that they would have otherwise paid if not for the lawsuit.
- I’ll quickly concede that Troy King may have relished filing suit against Riley’s wishes, given the nature of their relationship, but may we assume that Mississippi and Louisiana also appear to be considering filing suit because they are considering the best interests of their citizenry?
Just thinking aloud…
What’s your take?
Remember that Republican Robert Bentley and Democrat Ron Sparks will debate tonight at the University of Alabama. You can see it on Alabama Public Television (also C-Span or online) at 7 pm.
The nitty-gritty (cut and paste from email):
It will begin at 7 PM from the Moody Music Building on the campus of the University of Alabama. It will be broadcast on C-SPAN, Alabama Public Television (APT), Alabama Public Radio (APR), and AL.com. UA Graduate and current NPR Correspondent Debbie Elliot will moderate. The questions were submitted by Alabama voters through various websites. For more details on the debate, check out decisionalabama.ua.edu. The Crimson White, the student newspaper on campus, will be like tweeting about the debate using the hash tag #decisionUA.