http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/base/news/113861639040340.xml&coll=2 – Three separate tax cut plans considered in legislature.
http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/base/news/113861623640340.xml&coll=2 – Overview of the tax reform proposals by Riley, Knight and Bedford.
http://www.al.com/news/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/news/113861643040360.xml&coll=3 – “The Political Skinny,” the weekly political roundup from the Mobile Register.
http://www.al.com/news/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/news/113861636240360.xml&coll=3 – CBPP report blasts proposed requirement that Medicaid recipients/applicants must provide birth certificates or passports to continue services; 1 in 12 adults with incomes less than $25,000 said to lack documents.
http://www.al.com/opinion/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/opinion/113861611740360.xml&coll=3 – Editorial critical of Sen. Sanders (D-Selma) contention that any approved amendment to remove racist provisions of the state’s constitution must also provide for a child’s right to an education.
http://www.mountaineagle.com/NF/omf/eagle/news_story.html?[rkey=0100419+[cr=gdn – Wallace feels he could unify warring factions in role of lt. governor.
http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/060130/gov.shtml - Battle heating up between legislature, governor over construction plan for schools.
http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/opinion/editorials/060130b.shtml - Editorial in support of proposal to post legislators’ travel expenses on the web.
http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060130/OPINION01/601270366/1012/OPINION - Editorial criticizes constitutional reform opponents for injecting “ludicrous” comments into the debate during last week’s public hearing.
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060130/NEWS/601300341/1007/NEWS02 - Children’s Trust Fund looking at significant cuts under proposed budget.
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060129/NEWS/601300302/1007/NEWS02 - Washington based campaign finance watchdog groups says DeLay’s Alabama PAC was for money laundering.
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060130/NEWS/601300308/1012/editorial1 - Editorial calls for poverty in state to be prime issue for this year’s elections.
FROM TODAY’S ANNISTON STAR:
Allies in opposition
In our opinion
The perennial battle to get our Legislature to face up to the need for constitutional reform is joined once more. And once again, the Alabama Farmers’ Federation and the Christian Coalition of Alabama have joined forces to fight them.
On the surface, these two groups don’t seem to have that much in common. You don’t see many folks from the CCA out there demanding that the state protect hog farms. Nor do you see representatives from ALFA lobbying against gay marriage.
When it comes to opposing a constitutional convention or anything else that might change the Constitution to make life better for most Alabamians, however, these two sing from the same song sheet.
ALFA has made it clear that it plans to “stop attempts to revise the Alabama Constitution by convention.”
If the Constitution is to be revised, ALFA wants it revised by the Legislature, where ALFA has the power to preserve the advantages the current Constitution gives agribusiness.
Protecting corporate farming, not family farming, is ALFA’s goal. When a plan was proposed that would preserve the breaks for farms of the size most Alabamians consider “family” but eliminate the advantages the large farming corporations enjoy, ALFA fought and defeated the package.
And the Christian Coalition of Alabama was right there to help it, even though keeping the constitutionally mandated tax structure that ALFA favors works to the disadvantage of people who are the CCA’s core constituency.
The Christian Coalition also parrots the ALFA party line in warning a convention would bring “uninhibited home rule” to Alabama. Now home rule is hard to count as a faith-based issue, but it easily fits into ALFA’s agenda.
And what is the CCA getting in return for this support?
Well, a few years ago, when the CCA fought efforts to set up a state lottery, ALFA jumped in to help them.
But some folks think the CCA is getting something else — money.
There has been a great deal of speculation about where the CCA gets its financial support — speculation heightened by revelations that Indian casino money helped fund the CCA’s anti-gambling efforts. And much of that speculation centers on the ALFA-CCA connection.
Could it be that ALFA is underwriting the CCA’s campaign against constitutional reform?
We don’t know.
Last year, efforts to require public advocacy groups like the Christian Coalition to reveal the sources of its funding failed because of a filibuster carried out by Republicans, many of whom had strong ties to ALFA.
Of course, there is an easy way to prove all this speculation wrong. The CCA could open its books and let the public see.
So why don’t they?
A challenge for AG King
In our opinion
Alabama Attorney General Troy King says the state’s inadequate care for the mentally retarded is our problem, not the federal government’s. In a recent constituents’ letter, he wrote that the state Legislature and Gov. Bob Riley bear the responsibility for ensuring enough money goes to this vulnerable segment of our population.
Well said, Mr. Attorney General. If over the past six decades or longer, such strong-willed words had been matched by resolved action, Alabama would not be viewed nationally in the crudest of stereotypes.
Let’s hope the attorney general can indeed cut short the lawsuit filed on behalf of mentally retarded Alabamians who claim a poorly funded state Department of Mental health has exiled them to a frustratingly long waiting list. Let’s hope the statehouse will hear King and respond with enough green to make sure services are provided quickly and sufficiently.
The attorney’s general’s spokesman told the Florence Times Daily that King is “in a terrible position, [seen] as a person insensitive to the needs of these individuals when he actually wants the same thing — services for them.” Let’s hope lawmakers feel the same and are appropriately moved.
History has proven hope, sadly, to be a shaky proposition when it comes to state government doing the right thing. As much as Attorney General King might not like federal intervention, it is the very taskmaster that has applied the whip to countless Alabama government agencies that for whatever reason would not do the right thing. Often, if we do meet federal regulations, it is at a bare minimum.
It’s too bad for King that he must live with that legacy. Unfortunately, minds and attitudes don’t change so easily. Trust must be earned.
A good start down that course would be for King to use his powers of persuasion with the Legislature so that it does what he desires — deliver robust serves to the mentally retarded in Alabama.
With that notch on the attorney general’s belt, the entire statehouse can launch a serious-minded attempt at providing quality government services, even surpassing what the feds demand.
With that, Alabama will become a fairer and more prosperous state. And someday, thanks to the work of Troy King and a host of others currently in leadership, a future attorney general can tell the federal government to butt out. We have proven we know how to properly take care of our own, that future attorney general could proudly boast.
The cost of low prices
In our opinion
Talk about giving low prices with one hand and taking away local jobs with the other.
A Mobile Register story recently reported some unsurprising news:
“A majority of Alabamians believe that the aggressive growth of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is good for America, even if the company’s expansion hurts local businesses, the results of a new Mobile Register-University of South Alabama poll suggests.”
A similarly predictable Associated Press story datelined from Birmingham came across the wires recently:
“Textile manufacturer Russell Corp. will eliminate some 2,300 jobs by the end of next year, beginning with about 550 positions that will be cut soon from its former corporate hometown of Alexander City.
“Russell spokeswoman Nancy Young said the company would phase out the positions as part of a restructuring meant in part to help it reduce costs and continue selling men’s fleece products to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.”
Economists surely have $20 words for such an effect. The textile workers from Alexander City and elsewhere who will soon be looking for new jobs surely have other more common phrases to describe their situation, most of which are unprintable in a family newspaper.