http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/base/news/1140603635181430.xml&coll=2 – Senate’s Tuesday work session cut short by lack of quorum.
http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/base/news/1140604090181430.xml&coll=2 – Senate committee gives unanimous approval to measure for constitutional convention.
http://www.al.com/opinion/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/base/opinion/1140603899181430.xml&coll=2 – Editorial calls for explanation of DHR’s actions in decision to start over on development of computer system which has already cost $50 million.
http://www.al.com/news/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/news/1140603818181440.xml&coll=3 – Mobile County considers hiring conservative think tank to study impact of sales tax cuts.
http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/index.ssf?/base/news/1140603701181480.xml&coll=1 – House approves expansion of use of deadly force.
http://www.al.com/opinion/huntsvilletimes/index.ssf?/base/opinion/1140603528181480.xml&coll=1 – Editorial commentary on the possibility of Roy Moore running for governor as an independent.
http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060222/NEWS02/602220339/1009 – Proponents of differing bills to make death or injury of unborn child a crime join forces.
http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060222/NEWS02/602220328/1009 – Utilities tell committee that measure to require no cutoffs during winter months not needed.
http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060222/OPINION0101/602210379/1012/OPINION – Kimble’s commentary on the advantages of the Knight income tax plan.
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060221/APN/602210994 – GOP chairperson resigns position with lobbying firm representing casino interests.
FROM TODAY’S ANNISTON STAR:
State educators push to retain annual reappraisals
By Brian Lyman
Star Capitol Correspondent
MONTGOMERY — Educators urged a Senate committee Tuesday to vote against a bill that would require property reappraisals every four years instead of annually.
“We are about to put politics back into the middle of taxation,” said Paul Hubbert, executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association. “Instead of letting a system work that is already working in several counties, we’re going to put politics into it.”
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, would change language in the Alabama code that currently requires reappraisals to be carried out every year.
While that language has been in state law since the mid-1970s, governors and state legislators ignored it. The state Department of Revenue began phasing in annual reappraisals in 2003. Calhoun County started in 2004, and about 30 counties now make annual appraisals. All counties would go into annual appraisals by 2009.
Byrne, however, says he’s heard numerous complaints from revenue commissioners and homeowners in Baldwin County, which Byrne represents. A strong housing market there has boosted property values, and annual appraisals have led to tax jumps each year.
“My constituents tell me that when there will be a jump (in taxes), they would rather have it every four years, because they don’t want to face a tax increase every year,” he said after the meeting of the Senate’s General Appropriations committee.
Educators at the meeting argued that the annual reappraisals give school districts a reliable source of funding and made it easier to plan for future years.
“What annual reappraisals have done … is create a degree of stability for the poorer school districts in this state,” said Craig Pouncey, assistant state superintendent of education.
Sandra Sims-deGraffenried, executive director of the Alabama Association of School Boards, said many districts already have floated bonds for projects based on revenues coming in from annual reappraisals.
“We’re almost halfway there,” she said. “Let’s give it a chance to work.”
Byrne has drafted amendments to his bill to restrict the quadrennial reappraisals to residential property and allow counties to set the time for reappraisals. But he countered some of the criticism coming his way, saying revenue commissioners in his county are not able to do reappraisals on every home every year.
“I think it probably is better for the school systems, but we have to balance that out against the big concerns of revenue commissioners and the serious concerns of taxpayers,” he said.