American Rescue Plan Act offers path to recovery

As vaccinations continue across Alabama, COVID-19’s viselike grip on our lives is loosening. The pandemic has caused immense physical, emotional and economic suffering, and those aftereffects will not fade quickly. But the American Rescue Plan Act – the federal relief package that President Joe Biden signed March 11 – includes many important policies to begin the healing.

Some of the most crucial investments come in health care. The law increases subsidies for marketplace health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It also creates new incentives that would more than offset the cost of Medicaid expansion. The incentives would remove Alabama’s last financial barrier to extending coverage to more than 340,000 adults with low incomes.

If Gov. Kay Ivey agrees to expand Medicaid, Alabama would receive between $740 million and $940 million over two years. That would result from a 5-percentage-point federal funding increase for traditional Medicaid coverage.

Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery

“Medicaid expansion is the single biggest step Alabama can take to recover from the pandemic,” Alabama Arise campaign director Jane Adams said.

“Congress did their job. Now it’s time for the governor and state lawmakers to do theirs.”

The act also slashes poverty by boosting unemployment insurance and nutrition assistance benefits and expanding the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. It funds rental and mortgage assistance to help prevent evictions and foreclosures. And it provides Alabama’s state and local governments with $4 billion of federal assistance to help avoid cuts to education and other vital services.

Persistent disparities – and how to end them

The relief package provides opportunities to begin dismantling longtime structural barriers in Alabama. Arise offers many such policy recommendations in our recent report, The State of Working Alabama 2021, which details how COVID-19 cost hundreds of thousands of Alabamians their jobs and fueled a rapid surge of hunger and hardship across our state.

COVID-19’s toll has been especially heavy for women and people of color, the report finds. The pandemic exacerbated Alabama’s preexisting racial, gender and regional disparities in health care, housing, nutrition and economic opportunity. These inequities – the legacy of bad policy decisions – prevent Alabama from reaching its full potential.

“Alabama’s economic, racial and gender inequities are preventable and reversible,” Arise policy director Jim Carnes said. “By making better policy choices now and in the future, we can chart a path toward a more equitable economy.”

Arise legislative recap: March 19, 2021

As the Alabama Legislature reaches the midpoint of this year’s regular session, Arise’s Celida Soto Garcia brings us up to date with the session so far. Lawmakers sadly have neglected many key needs while advancing numerous bills that would infringe on the civil rights of Alabamians. We need you to speak out for a better Alabama.

Two corrections reflected in the captions: The session will resume on Tuesday, March 30. And HB 285 is sponsored by Rep. Wes Allen.

Arise legislative recap: March 12, 2021

Arise’s Carol Gundlach breaks down the American Rescue Plan and what it means for Alabama families including expansions to the Child Tax Credit and EITC helping to reduce poverty across Alabama.

Federal relief package will reduce Alabamians’ unmet health needs, hunger, housing instability and other hardships

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 will reduce poverty while expanding health care, housing and nutrition protections across Alabama, according to analyses by Alabama Arise and other research organizations. President Joe Biden signed the new federal COVID-19 relief package into law Thursday.

The law will slash poverty by expanding tax credits to struggling households and boosting unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. It also will provide Alabama $2.3 billion of federal assistance to help avoid cuts to education and other vital services. Local governments in Alabama will receive another $1.7 billion in federal funding.

Some of the relief package’s most transformative investments will come in health care. The law will increase the affordability of health coverage through the marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And it will create new federal incentives that would more than offset the state’s cost to expand Medicaid, providing health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Alabama adults with low incomes.

“The American Rescue Plan Act throws Alabama’s struggling families a much needed lifeline,” Alabama Arise executive director Robyn Hyden said. “And it offers budgetary breathing room for policymakers to tackle chronic problems, address longstanding racial and gender inequities and build an economy that works for every Alabamian. Medicaid expansion should be at the very top of our legislators’ to-do list.”

A new pathway to Medicaid expansion in Alabama

The relief package could bring overdue peace of mind to some 300,000 Alabamians living in the health coverage gap. They earn too much to qualify for Medicaid under the state’s stringent income limit but too little to qualify for subsidized ACA marketplace plans.

Nearly seven in 10 Alabamians support expanding Medicaid to cover these adults, a statewide poll found last month. If Gov. Kay Ivey agrees to expansion, the law would give the state a 5-percentage-point increase in federal funding for its traditional Medicaid coverage for two years.

That would bring Alabama an additional $940 million over two years, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates. And it would remove any remaining financial barrier to Medicaid expansion, said Jane Adams, the Cover Alabama campaign director for Alabama Arise.

“This law is a much-needed step toward closing the health coverage gap in Alabama. We have no time to waste,” Adams said. “Tens of thousands of people have died in the South ‒ my home ‒ because they couldn’t afford to get the health care they needed.

“Medicaid expansion is the single biggest step Alabama can take to weather and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and move our state forward. Congress did their job. Now it is time for Governor Ivey and our state lawmakers to do theirs and immediately expand Medicaid in Alabama.”

Enhancements to existing Medicaid, marketplace coverage

The relief package also makes multiple coverage improvements for tens of millions of Americans with Medicaid or ACA marketplace plans. Among other changes, the law:

  • Reduces or eliminates marketplace premiums through 2022. Subsidies will increase across the board, and no one will pay more than 8.5% of income for their health plan.
  • Eliminates COBRA premiums through September 2021.
  • Protects against tax liability on premium assistance because of income fluctuation.
  • Increases funding for COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution.
  • Gives Alabama the option to increase the income limit and coverage period for postpartum Medicaid coverage.
  • Increases federal funding for home- and community-based Medicaid long-term care services.
  • Increases federal funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment and a broad spectrum of mental health services.

Child Tax Credit, EITC expansions will reduce poverty across Alabama

Poverty rates will fall nationwide thanks to tax credits and stimulus payments in the American Rescue Plan Act, studies predict. One of the greatest gains will result from a Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion that could cut the U.S. child poverty rate in half, a Columbia University analysis found.

The relief package makes the full CTC available to children living in families with low or no earnings. It increases the credit’s maximum amount to $3,000 per child and $3,600 for children under age 6. And it extends the credit to 17-year-olds. This CTC expansion will help four in five Alabama children (or nearly 1.1 million), as well as nearly 1 million adults, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) estimates.

Direct payments and expanded tax credits will help Alabamians make ends meet as well. Among other changes, the law:

  • Provides a one-time payment of $1,400 per person for individuals making up to $75,000 and couples making up to $150,000. Individuals with incomes up to $80,000 and couples with incomes up to $160,000 are eligible for partial payments. These stimulus payments will benefit 91% of adults (3.1 million) and 92% of children in Alabama, ITEP estimates.
  • Raises the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working adults without children from roughly $530 to roughly $1,500. The law also increases the income limit for these adults to qualify from about $16,000 to at least $21,000.
  • Expands the age range of EITC-eligible workers without children. Younger adults aged 19-24 who are not full-time students can qualify now, as can people 65 and over.
  • Helps more than 280,000 Alabamians with the EITC improvements mentioned above, CBPP estimates. The vast majority of the Alabamians who will benefit (205,200) have annual incomes below $20,400, according to ITEP.

Boosts to SNAP, unemployment, housing assistance to help Alabamians make ends meet

The American Rescue Plan Act includes additional provisions to keep more households fed and housed. Most urgently, it extends until Sept. 6 the supplemental $300 federal UI benefits that were set to expire this weekend. This extension more than doubles Alabama’s maximum total weekly benefit to $575, or roughly 60% of median household income.

The law also provides $37 billion nationwide in rental and mortgage assistance to help prevent evictions and foreclosures. For Alabama, this would mean an increase of more than 1,400% from 2020 Emergency Solutions Grant funding if states receive funding proportionate to their populations.

In addition, the package continues a 15% boost to food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through September. This increase will help nearly 800,000 Alabamians and bring $64 million in additional SNAP benefits into Alabama, CBPP finds.

The plan takes many other steps to alleviate hardship. Among other changes, the law:

  • Provides Alabama with $10 million in emergency pandemic Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding. This money is usable for one-time benefits like cash assistance, rental assistance or clothing allowances.
  • Allows states to continue Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits through early September. P-EBT replaces the value of meals that children miss when schools are closed.
  • Increases the monthly allocation for fruits and vegetables in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program from $9 to $35 for four months.
  • Makes the first $10,200 of UI benefits non-taxable for households with incomes below $150,000.
  • Excludes discharged student loan amounts from taxable income calculation through 2026.

“Everyone should know the security of having food on the table and a roof overhead,” Hyden said. “The American Rescue Plan Act will help ease Alabamians’ suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it will lay a foundation to build a stronger, more inclusive Alabama in its aftermath.”

Arise legislative recap: Feb. 16, 2021

Arise executive director Robyn Hyden breaks down the first two weeks in the Alabama Legislature’s 2021 regular session and outlines Arise’s goals for this session. Legislators have prioritized protecting corporations over workers so far this month, even as hundreds of thousands of Alabamians continue to struggle with hunger and hardship during the COVID-19 recession.

How Alabama Arise is working to build a brighter future after the pandemic

After a year of darkness, the light at the end of the tunnel is finally in sight. Promising vaccine news offers hope that public health officials can rein in COVID-19 in the coming months. And as our state and nation seek policy solutions to rebuild from the pandemic’s health and economic devastation, Alabama Arise will seek to advance equity and shared prosperity for Alabamians who are marginalized and excluded.

That vital work won’t be fast or easy. In the meantime, the pandemic’s harrowing toll continues to grow. COVID-19 has killed more than 1.5 million people worldwide, including more than 3,900 Alabamians, and sickened tens of millions. It has fueled a deep recession, caused millions of layoffs and left more than 40% of U.S. children living in households struggling to make ends meet. It has stretched hospitals to the breaking point and disrupted education, commerce and social interactions in every community.

The Alabama Legislature will begin its 2021 regular session Feb. 2. As the health and economic tolls of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to mount, Alabama Arise will keep working hard to empower people who live in poverty and to lift up their voices in state policy debates.

COVID-19 has created suffering on a staggering scale. It also has highlighted long-standing economic and racial disparities and underscored the urgency of ending them. A new legislative session and a new presidency will offer new opportunities to right those wrongs in 2021 and beyond.

The federal and state work ahead

The most immediate needs will require federal action. Congress must extend state aid and additional unemployment insurance (UI) benefits before they expire this month. But those extensions should be just a down payment on a more comprehensive response.

Arise will urge further UI benefit increases and more federal relief to help states avoid layoffs and damaging cuts. We also will advocate for emergency rental and mortgage assistance and a 15% boost to food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). And we’ll support regulatory efforts to lift harmful Medicaid and SNAP barriers created in recent years.

Flyer on Alabama Arise's 2021 issue priorities. For more information, visit https://www.alarise.org/news-releases/alabama-arise-unveils-members-2021-roadmap-for-change.

We’ll also keep working for better state policies when the Legislature returns in February. Our top focus will be Medicaid expansion, which we’ll pursue along with partners in the Cover Alabama Coalition. Expansion would cover more than 340,000 Alabamians with low incomes and ease the financial strain on rural hospitals. It also would attack structural health care disparities that led COVID-19 to take a disproportionate toll on Black Alabamians.

Arise’s work won’t stop there. We’ll support legislation to expand voting rights and ensure broadband internet access for all Alabamians. We’ll seek to increase consumer protections and overhaul the state’s criminal justice system. And we’ll fight to untax groceries once and for all.

Breakthroughs on many of these issues won’t be fast or easy. But together, we’ll emerge from dark times into the light of a brighter, more inclusive future for Alabama.

Alabama Arise unveils members’ 2021 roadmap for change

Sentencing reform and universal broadband access are two new goals on Alabama Arise’s 2021 legislative agenda. Members voted for Arise’s issue priorities this week after nearly 300 people attended the organization’s online annual meeting Saturday. The seven issues chosen were:

  • Tax reform, including untaxing groceries and ending the state’s upside-down deduction for federal income taxes, which overwhelmingly benefits rich households.
  • Adequate budgets for human services like education, health care and child care, including Medicaid expansion and extension of pre-K to serve all eligible Alabama children.
  • Criminal justice reform, including repeal of the Habitual Felony Offender Act and changes to civil asset forfeiture policies.
  • Voting rights, including automatic universal voter registration and removal of barriers to voting rights restoration for disenfranchised Alabamians.
  • Payday and title lending reform to protect consumers from getting trapped in debt.
  • Death penalty reform, including a law to require juries to be unanimous in any decision to impose a death sentence.
  • Universal broadband access to help Alabamians who have low incomes or live in rural areas stay connected to work, school and health care.

“Arise believes in dignity, equity and justice for all Alabamians,” Alabama Arise executive director Robyn Hyden said. “And our 2021 issue priorities would break down many of the policy barriers that keep people in poverty. We can and will build a more inclusive future for our state.”

Graphic naming Alabama Arise's 2021 issue priorities

The urgent need for criminal justice reform

Alabama’s criminal justice system is broken and in desperate need of repair. The state’s prisons are violent and dangerously overcrowded. Exorbitant court fines and fees impose heavy burdens on thousands of families every year, taking a disproportionate toll on communities of color and families who are already struggling to make ends meet. And Alabama’s civil asset forfeiture policies let law enforcement seize people’s property even if they aren’t charged with a crime.

Arise will continue to seek needed reforms in those areas in the coming year. The organization also will work for repeal of the Habitual Felony Offender Act (HFOA), the state’s “three-strikes” law. The HFOA is an unjust driver of sentencing disparities and prison overcrowding in Alabama. The law lengthens sentences for a felony conviction after a prior felony conviction, even when the prior offense was nonviolent. Hundreds of people in Alabama are serving life sentences for non-homicide crimes because of the HFOA. Thousands more have had their sentences increased as a result. Repealing the law would reduce prison overcrowding and end some of Alabama’s most abusive sentencing practices.

Universal broadband access would help struggling Alabamians stay connected

The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the essential role that the internet plays in modern life. Remote work, education, health care and shopping are a reality for millions in our state today. But far too many Alabamians, especially in rural areas, can’t access the high-speed broadband that these services require. These access challenges also reveal a racial disparity: About 10% each of Black and Latino households have no internet subscription, compared to 6% of white households.

Policy solutions can facilitate the investments needed to ensure all Alabamians can stay connected. Lawmakers can help by guaranteeing that all communities have the right to own, operate or deploy their own broadband services. The Legislature also can enact targeted and transparent tax credits to promote broadband for underserved populations.

Town Hall Tuesdays: What we heard from Arise supporters

Listening is often an underdeveloped skill, yet it is critical for mutual understanding and working together for meaningful change. That’s why Arise is committed to listening to our members, to our allies and most importantly, to those directly affected by the work we do together. We depend on what we hear from you to guide our issue work and our strategies.

This year’s COVID-19 pandemic challenged us to be creative in finding ways to listen. Instead of our usual face-to-face meetings around the state, we hosted a series of six statewide online Town Hall Tuesdays. We held events every two weeks, starting in June and ending Sept. 1. We averaged 65 attendees at each session. Here’s some of what we heard from members and supporters:

  • Affirmation for Medicaid expansion, untaxing groceries and other current Arise issues as important for achieving shared prosperity.
  • Empathy for those who were already living in vulnerable circumstances further strained by the pandemic.
  • Concern about ongoing, intentional barriers to voting, especially during the pandemic.
  • Desire to see more resources to meet the needs of our immigrant neighbors.
  • Alarm about payday and title lending and its impact on people’s lives and our communities.
  • Passion and concern about many other issues, including housing; living wages and pay equity; prison and sentencing reform; gun safety; juvenile justice reform; defunding the police; the Census; environmental justice; quality and funding of public education; and food insecurity and nutrition.
  • Willingness to take informed actions to make a difference in the policies that impact people’s lives.
  • Hope that Alabama can be a better place for all our neighbors to live despite systemic issues and ongoing challenges.

Notes from each town hall

Overviews of the town halls are below. Click the title for a PDF of the notes from the breakout sessions at each town hall.

June 23 – Money talks
We examined how to strengthen education, health care, child care and other services that help Alabamians make ends meet. And we explored ways to fund those services more equitably.

July 7 – Justice for all
We discussed Alabama’s unjust criminal justice system and how to fix it.

July 21 – Getting civic
Discussion focused on protecting voting rights and boosting Census responses during a pandemic.

Aug. 4 – Shared prosperity
We looked at policy solutions to boost opportunity and protect families from economic exploitation.

Aug. 18 – Feeding our families
We explored ways to increase household food security during and after the recession.

Sept. 1 – Closing the coverage gap
Discussion focused on how everyone can help expand Medicaid to ensure coverage for hundreds of thousands of struggling Alabamians. We also heard about the expansion campaign strategies of the Cover Alabama Coalition, headed by Arise campaign director Jane Adams.

Get in touch and stay in touch with Arise

Remember, we didn’t stop listening because the town halls ended. We want to hear from you, and we encourage you to contact the Arise organizer in your area:

We hope to see you at Arise’s online annual meeting Oct. 3!

Alabama should ensure all eligible residents receive federal stimulus payments

Alabama and the nation are facing an economic crisis like nothing we’ve ever seen. More than 13% of Alabama households don’t have enough money to feed their families, the Census Bureau reports. Nearly half of Alabama’s renters may face eviction in the near future.

Meanwhile, an estimated 267,000 eligible Alabamians have not received their federal stimulus payments of $1,200 per eligible adult and $500 per eligible child. Altogether, the IRS still owes Alabama families more than $260 million in stimulus money. The application deadline is Oct. 15, 2020, so outreach efforts are crucial to ensure hundreds of thousands of Alabamians don’t miss out.

Many eligible people have not yet applied for payments

Congress created the payments (called Economic Impact Payments) in March as part of the CARES Act, a COVID-19 relief package. Income-eligible people who filed income taxes for 2018 or who receive Social Security, SSI, veterans’ benefits or other direct federal benefits automatically received stimulus payments.

But other eligible people must apply to the IRS to receive the payments. About 12 million Americans are eligible for a stimulus payment but not eligible for automatic payments, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates.

The range of people who are ineligible for automatic payments is wide. They can include people who face long-term unemployment or don’t earn enough to have to file taxes. They also may include people who have chronic health problems but who do not draw disability benefits. And they can include young people aging out of foster care or low-income students lacking their family’s financial support.

These eligible Americans are disproportionately people of color due to higher poverty rates resulting from long-standing employment discrimination. They’re more likely to have less education and struggle with homelessness or housing insecurity. And they’re more likely to be hit the hardest during the COVID-19 recession.

Stimulus payments help families and the economy

Stimulus payments help Alabama families get caught up on rent, utilities and grocery bills. They’re also an important economic boost for the state. Every $1 in stimulus payments to struggling households can yield 1.5 times as much in economic activity because the money gets spent almost immediately. Drawing down the missing $260 million in stimulus payments would ease suffering and help Alabama’s economy endure the recession.

How to apply for a stimulus payment

Eligible people who didn’t receive an automatic payment can apply directly to the IRS using the “Non-Filer” tool. For a household to receive a payment, every person in the household must have a Social Security number. Only U.S. citizens and authorized permanent residents are eligible for payments. Click here to find out more about how to apply for a stimulus payment.

Alabama needs to get the word out

State agencies have an important role to play in outreach to people who have not yet claimed their stimulus payment. Of the 12 million Americans who didn’t automatically qualify, three-fourths participate in Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

If our state’s numbers follow the national trend, that would mean about 200,000 Alabamians who participate in Medicaid or SNAP are eligible for stimulus payments but haven’t received them yet. More than a third of them are children, and therefore probably receiving Medicaid. Another third are older adults without children.

Alabama’s Medicaid and SNAP officials can help enrollees by encouraging them to apply for stimulus payments and explaining how. Nonprofit agencies, especially those offering assistance with housing and utilities, likewise can help their clients apply for payments. And elected officials can use traditional and social media to encourage Alabamians to apply for the help available to them.

These are challenging times. But if we all pull together and take care of each other, we can get through them. One good step would be to ensure all eligible Alabamians get the federal help they need to make ends meet.

As education revenues fall, it’s time to strengthen Alabama’s tax system

It’s a truism often heard during budget hearings at the Alabama State House: “All the growth taxes go to education.” Legislators commonly say this to bemoan relatively flat revenue for the General Fund (GF), even when the economy is booming. Meanwhile, the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget grows by comparative leaps and bounds.

There is a downside, however, to how quickly the ETF responds to economic conditions. Education revenue can decline quickly and sharply during hard economic times. And that’s the situation we’re in now, thanks to the COVID-19 recession.

The ETF gets nearly all its money from two major sources. One is income taxes, which are constitutionally earmarked for teacher salaries. The other is sales and use taxes. (Use taxes apply to online and mail-order purchases.) Income taxes account for 63% of state money going to Alabama schools, and sales and use taxes contribute another 30%.

Pie chart of 2019 ETF revenue sources. Income tax 63%, sales tax 27.9%, utility tax 5.6%, use tax 2.6%, other 0.9%.
Source: Alabama Legislative Services Agency

During a strong economy, this is a very good thing for education. Income taxes can grow quickly when more people are working, and sales taxes grow quickly when they spend those earnings. During bad economic times and high unemployment, however, both income and sales taxes suffer. And right now the economic times are some of the worst that Alabamians have ever seen.

ETF revenues plummet as the pandemic hits Alabama

Because of the pandemic and the recession that resulted, Alabama’s unemployment rate shot up from a near-record low of 3% in March to a near-record high of 12.9% in April. Income taxes responded in kind, dropping more than 50% between March and April 2020. May and June’s revenues recovered somewhat but were still more than 12% lower than income tax revenues for the same period in 2019. Altogether, income tax collections from March through June were down more than 20% compared to 2019.

Sales taxes went down, too, though not as dramatically as income taxes. Sales tax collections from March through June were down slightly more than 7% compared to 2019. Overall, income and sales tax revenues during those months were down 16.3% compared to the same period last year.

Bar graphs showing the decrease in Alabama's income and sales tax revenues between March-June 2019 and March-June 2020.
Alabama’s income tax revenues between March and June 2020 were $400 million lower than during the same period in 2019. Sales tax collections were down by more than $60 million.

Despite those declines, the Alabama Legislature passed a 2021 education budget that is larger than this year’s. Both legislators and the governor have expressed confidence that reserve and Rainy Day accounts will be enough to avoid automatic spending cuts known as proration this year and next, even if the economy is slow to recover.

Warning signs on the horizon for the ETF

But ETF revenue trends in recent months have been troubling. Education revenue increased by 8% between October and February, according to a budget presentation that Kirk Fulford, deputy director of the Legislative Services Agency (LSA) Fiscal Division, gave before a Senate budget committee on July 9. When the recession hit between March and June, however, revenues fell 17% compared to the same period in 2019. That reduced total ETF revenue growth fiscal year (FY) 2020 to barely 1%. (Alabama’s fiscal years run from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.)

By contrast, the news was better for the GF, which funds Medicaid, corrections and other non-education services. Revenue growth remained at a relatively healthy 7% compared to last year. The GF benefited in large part from an earmarked internet sales tax (called the “simplified sellers use tax”) that increased by $16 million from March to June. That growth came on top of a $34 million increase earlier in the fiscal year.

Fulford remained optimistic that neither budget would face proration in 2020, despite worrisome ETF revenue projections. He reassured legislators that healthy beginning balances, debt reduction and savings accounts created under the Rolling Reserve Act would protect the ETF at least through FY 2020.

Alabama Arise trusts the LSA’s expertise but remains concerned, especially about 2021. Our state’s tax system simply may not bring in enough money to fund our schools if the pandemic recession is long or deeper than anticipated.

Better tax policies for a brighter future

Alabama’s experience during the Great Recession a decade ago proves the need for caution. More than a dozen years later, Alabama’s education funding still hasn’t returned to its pre-recession level. And if revenues decline at the same rate as in 2009, the ETF could lose $841 million in state money next year. That would be the equivalent of one-fifth of all state K-12 funding.

It’s not enough to cross our fingers and just hope the economy and revenues recover quickly. Arise encourages state lawmakers to modernize and strengthen Alabama’s tax system to ensure it is both fair and adequate. One good step would be to eliminate the state deduction for federal income tax payments. Another would be to impose a temporary income surtax on millionaires.

These changes and others would generate the revenue needed to help struggling families and protect our schools during tough times. And they would be a needed investment in a brighter, more inclusive future for Alabama. Read our full list of recommendations here.