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Fact Sheet

The federal income tax deduction is skewed and wrong for Alabama

Wealthy people don’t need a huge, skewed income tax break ‒ but Alabama gives them exactly that. This loophole, called the federal income tax (FIT) deduction, overwhelmingly benefits rich households. It’s an imbalanced tax giveaway that reduces funding for public schools. And it increases the state’s reliance on regressive revenue sources, like the sales tax [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
December 15, 2022
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

A dire need for reform: How Alabama’s constitution is holding our state back

The 1901 Alabama Constitution is overreaching, poorly written and harmful to many of the people it governs. Its authors intentionally disenfranchised people of color, women and people with low incomes in an effort to silence them politically. The document also created barriers to governance for local elected officials. More than a century later, these barriers [...]
Issue
Other
Date
September 22, 2022
Author
Mike Nicholson
Fact Sheet

A revenue-neutral plan to untax groceries in Alabama

Alabama Arise supports legislation that would end the state sales tax on groceries and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and protect school funding. By capping the state income tax deduction for federal income taxes, the plan would bring in $520 million a year, the Legislative Services Agency (LSA) estimates. That would replace the revenue from ending the [...]
Issues
Budgets, Tax Reform
Date
August 18, 2022
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

Eliminating state grocery tax would make life better for Alabama families

Alabama’s sales tax on groceries is a cruel tax on survival, particularly in times of economic insecurity. It increases hunger rates and drives struggling Alabamians deeper into poverty. Two bills in the 2022 regular session – SB 43 by Sen. Andrew Jones, R-Centre, and HB 173 by Rep. Mike Holmes, R-Wetumpka – would end the [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
January 25, 2022
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

Underregulated auto title loans are a bad deal for Alabamians

Alabama doesn’t know how many people lose their cars because of auto title loans every year. No agency collects data on title loans, which are treated as pawn transactions. But with annual percentage rates (APR) of 300% allowable under the state’s Pawn Shop Act, which governs title loans, the cost of these loans is far [...]
Issue
Payday & Title Lending Reform
Date
January 6, 2022
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Payday lending harms families and communities across Alabama

Every year, underregulated payday lenders drain tens of millions of dollars from Alabama communities. These financial predators use some of that money to pay a fleet of lobbyists and fund legislative campaigns against reform. They have preserved the status quo even though nearly three in four Alabamians support abolishing predatory payday loans. There are more [...]
Issue
Payday & Title Lending Reform
Date
January 6, 2022
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Criminal justice debt creates major barriers to economic health

It is unconstitutional to jail someone just because they owe money. But Alabama has no set process for courts to determine if a defendant can afford to pay fines and fees. And though debtors’ prisons are illegal, thousands of Alabamians are in danger of going to jail or are driven further into poverty because they [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
January 6, 2022
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Alabama’s death penalty practices remain unjust and unusually cruel

Americans increasingly oppose the death penalty. Gallup found that opposition to the death penalty more than doubled in the past 25 years. This may result from disturbingly high error rates in the system. For every 10 people executed since 1976, one innocent person on death row has been set free. Alabama took an important step toward death penalty reform [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
January 6, 2022
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Expand voting rights to move Alabama beyond its anti-democratic past

Voting rights are a flashpoint in Alabama’s history. The long denial of those rights to Black residents led to Bloody Sunday in Selma, the march to Montgomery and eventually passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In the decades since, our state has taken a few steps that increase voting access for communities of [...]
Issue
Voting Rights
Date
January 6, 2022
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Jump-start public transit in Alabama

Alabama’s failure to invest in public transportation is hurting people, communities, the economy and the environment. Many seniors, people with disabilities and people with low incomes need public transit to get to work, medical care, the grocery store and more. Others prefer an energy-saving alternative to cars. The Legislature created the Public Transportation Trust Fund [...]
Issue
Public Transportation
Date
December 22, 2021
Author
Jilisa Milton
Fact Sheet

It’s time to expand Medicaid and close Alabama’s health coverage gap

For years, Gov. Kay Ivey and legislators have said cost is the barrier to covering Alabamians with low incomes through Medicaid. Thanks to federal COVID-19 relief funding with incentives for Medicaid expansion, any concerns about that barrier are gone. Now more than ever before, we have the opportunity to ensure no Alabamian has to choose [...]
Issue
Medicaid Expansion
Date
December 21, 2021
Author
Jim Carnes
Fact Sheet

Alabama Housing Trust Fund can help thousands find a place to call home

Alabama lacks more than 73,000 homes for households with incomes below the federal poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four). That means many seniors, students, veterans and people with low or fixed incomes in Alabama can’t afford a safe place to call home. And the pandemic only made the housing crisis worse. Between Sept. [...]
Issue
Housing
Date
December 21, 2021
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

Funding surge is a path for Alabama to untax groceries, expand Medicaid

Alabama’s broken tax system usually starves our state of money to fund education, public health and other basic responsibilities adequately. But 2022 may be different. Record tax revenues and a surge of federal recovery dollars could allow lawmakers to address longstanding state needs and inequities – if they have the political courage: Tax revenues for [...]
Issues
Health, Medicaid Expansion
Date
December 21, 2021
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

Rental assistance resources to prevent evictions in Alabama

[caption id="attachment_711" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Affordable housing advocates rally outside the Alabama State House in Montgomery in 2015.[/caption] Are you facing eviction, or is a renter at your property unable to pay rent? Evictions in Alabama are resuming now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the federal eviction moratorium. If you are facing eviction because [...]
Issues
Housing, Coronavirus
Date
September 2, 2021
Author
Fact Sheet

Now is the time! Medicaid expansion talking points in Alabama

Timing On Thursday, March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, which will bring back federal funding for states to newly expand Medicaid. Thanks to this law, if Alabama expanded Medicaid, the state would get an estimated $940 million boost in federal Medicaid funds over two years. This is enough money to [...]
Issues
Health, Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion, Budgets
Date
March 12, 2021
Author
Chris Sanders
Fact Sheet

Progressive tax changes would allow Alabama’s budgets to endure and rebuild after COVID-19

Alabamians are living through hard times right now. Thousands of people are sick. Many more are scared or out of work. Uncertainty is everywhere amid a pandemic with no clear timetable or end game. As more businesses close or cut back, as more people lose income, and as fewer of us go to the stores [...]
Issues
Budgets, Tax Reform, Coronavirus
Date
April 30, 2020
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

Federal law strengthened SNAP amid COVID-19 pandemic, but benefit increase still needed

The economic meltdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has created an extraordinary demand for food assistance. State agencies are working overtime to figure out how to get food to hungry Alabamians while schools are closed, people are sheltering in place and the risk of infection is high. Applications for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition [...]
Issues
Safety Net, Coronavirus
Date
April 3, 2020
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

Unemployment insurance improvements, recovery rebates will help Alabamians hurt by COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented increase in unemployment insurance claims nationally. And the story is the same in Alabama, where 74,056 UI claims were filed in the week ending Saturday, March 28. That’s easily a record high since 1987, the earliest year for which weekly data is available for Alabama. The number of [...]
Issues
Tax Reform, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus, Safety Net
Date
April 1, 2020
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Untax groceries and protect funding for Alabama’s public schools

The sales tax on groceries is a cruel tax on survival. It drives struggling people deeper into poverty. Here’s why Alabama should end this tax – and how to do it: Alabama is one of only three states with no tax break on groceries. The state grocery tax is 4%, equal to two weeks’ worth [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
February 25, 2020
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Alabama needs to expand Medicaid NOW!

Medicaid is a health lifeline for one in four Alabamians and an economic engine for communities across our state. Extending Medicaid coverage to adults with low incomes would make life better for Alabamians of all races, genders and incomes. Medicaid expansion would ensure coverage for 340,000 Alabamians, including: People who work low-wage jobs and can’t [...]
Issues
Health, Medicaid Expansion
Date
February 25, 2020
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Fund public transit to improve lives

Alabama’s public transportation shortfall is hurting people, communities and the economy. Many seniors, people with disabilities, and people with low incomes rely on public transit to go to work, get to the doctor and run essential errands. But Alabama provides no state money to help meet those needs. Here’s why our state should make this [...]
Issue
Public Transportation
Date
February 25, 2020
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

A strong safety net means a stronger Alabama for all

We all know that people get down on their luck sometimes. They lose a job, have a sick child or need time to recover from an injury. And most Alabamians – understanding that “there, but for the grace of God, go I” – want to do what they can to help people going through a [...]
Issues
Health, Safety Net
Date
January 24, 2020
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

The new poll tax: Court debt and voting rights in Alabama

Everyone should be able to have a voice in governmental decisions that affect their daily lives. Voting is the most straightforward way Alabamians have to shape those decisions. But our state has a long, sad legacy of voter suppression tactics. As a result, Alabama today has more disenfranchised citizens than California, a state with eight [...]
Issues
Criminal Justice, Voting Rights
Date
January 15, 2020
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Criminal justice debt: A modern-day debtors’ prison

By Carol Gundlach and Dev Wakeley, policy analysts It is unconstitutional to jail a person in the United States just because he or she owes money. But Alabama has no process for courts to determine if a defendant can afford to pay fees and fines. And despite a prohibition on “debtors’ prisons,” thousands of Alabamians [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
January 10, 2020
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

Injustices remain in Alabama’s death penalty practices

Alabama took an important step toward death penalty reform in 2017, but numerous problems remain. That year, the state finally outlawed judicial override in capital cases. That change means judges no longer can impose the death penalty when a jury recommends life without parole. But the ban was not retroactive, and 35 people who were [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
January 9, 2020
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

How to get involved in Alabama’s legislative process

Most people recognize the vital role that voting plays in a democracy – even if they don’t vote. But fewer understand the citizen’s role in lawmaking. Using your power as a constituent to influence legislators is called lobbying. Alabama Arise promotes its interest – the well-being of Alabamians with low and moderate incomes – not [...]
Issue
Other
Date
December 12, 2019
Author
Jim Carnes
Fact Sheet

Why Medicaid expansion is a must for prison reform in Alabama

Against a backdrop of human tragedy, Gov. Kay Ivey’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy is working toward a January deadline for its recommendations to the Legislature. The U.S. Department of Justice in April issued a sobering overview of the Alabama corrections system’s numerous shortcomings. And the Montgomery Advertiser shed further light on the situation [...]
Issues
Medicaid Expansion, Criminal Justice, Health
Date
November 26, 2019
Author
Jim Carnes
Fact Sheet

Meet the working men and women caught in Alabama’s health coverage gap

As we celebrate Alabama’s workforce on Labor Day, here’s a fact that deserves special attention: More than 100,000 Alabamians are working without health insurance. They work in child care, construction, food services and other vital jobs. They’re the folks who keep things going. Yet they’re trapped in the health coverage gap. They can’t afford employer-based [...]
Issues
Health, Medicaid Expansion
Date
August 30, 2019
Author
Jim Carnes
Fact Sheet

Alabama’s prison reform solution must include Medicaid expansion

Alabama’s prison crisis is about more than overcrowding and understaffing. It’s about the generational impacts of a criminal justice system warped by racism, chronic poverty, inadequate education and poor health. The solution will require both new revenue and broad policy reform. And one essential step is to extend health coverage to uninsured Alabama adults with [...]
Issues
Medicaid Expansion, Budgets, Health
Date
May 31, 2019
Author
Jim Carnes
Fact Sheet

Investing in the Housing Trust Fund would create jobs and expand housing opportunities across Alabama

Alabama lacks more than 69,000 homes for households with incomes under $24,600. That means many hard-working Alabamians, seniors, students, veterans and folks on fixed incomes can’t afford a safe place to call home. State investment in the Alabama Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) would provide flexibility to meet a variety of housing needs across the state, [...]
Issue
Housing
Date
May 16, 2019
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Federal ability-to-repay rule protects payday borrowers, Alabama Arise tells CFPB

Director Kathleen Kraninger: I read with disappointment your recent proposal to rescind the thoroughly considered, factually grounded Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule provision mandating ability-to-repay determinations by lenders offering payday, title and balloon loans. As a policy organization working to advance the public good in a state with wholly insufficient consumer protections for borrowers, [...]
Issue
Payday & Title Lending Reform
Date
May 15, 2019
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Removing the FIT deduction would allow Alabama to untax groceries, expand Medicaid

Alabama's federal income tax (FIT) deduction provides a huge tax break for high-income individuals – but at what cost? $719 million to be exact. The FIT deduction is one big reason Alabama's tax system is upside down. For those who earn $30,000 a year, the deduction saves them about $27 on average. But for the [...]
Issues
Medicaid Expansion, Budgets, Health, Tax Reform
Date
April 15, 2019
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Alabama Medicaid reforms aim for better care, lower cost

Alabama is making some big changes in the way Medicaid members get their care. Alabama Arise believes the new plans, if carried out well, will be a significant improvement over the current Medicaid system. One way to improve the chances for success is to have a strong consumer voice at the policy table. The changes [...]
Issue
Health
Date
April 10, 2019
Author
Jim Carnes
Fact Sheet

Revenue options for Medicaid expansion

Alabama’s budget is an expression of our values. Medicaid expansion means healthier families, thriving communities and a stronger economy. Policymakers have a range of options for making this bold investment in a brighter future. Now is the time to choose. Remove the state deduction for federal income taxes (FIT) ► $719 million in new revenue [...]
Issues
Health, Medicaid Expansion
Date
March 19, 2019
Author
Jim Carnes
Fact Sheet

30 days to pay: A simple but important step forward on payday lending reform in Alabama

Alabama borrowers pay interest rates of 456 percent a year on payday loans. These high-cost loans trap thousands of struggling Alabamians in a debt cycle that deepens poverty and hurts the state’s economy. SB 75, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, along with a House version sponsored by Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, would extend the [...]
Issue
Payday & Title Lending Reform
Date
March 12, 2019
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Medicaid expansion by the numbers

± 223,000 Alabamians are caught in the coverage gap, unable to afford health insurance. Another 120,000 or more are stretching to pay for private or employer-based coverage. 13 Alabama hospitals – including 7 rural ones – have closed since 2011. 88 percent of Alabama’s rural hospitals operate in the red. If we expand Medicaid to [...]
Issues
Health, Medicaid Expansion
Date
March 4, 2019
Author
Jim Carnes
Fact Sheet

How the state grocery tax hurts struggling Alabamians

No matter how much or how little money we have, we all have to eat to live. But the share of earnings that people must devote to securing basic survival is not the same for everyone. Food takes a much bigger bite out of the household budget for low-income families than for richer ones. And [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
February 22, 2019
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

Ensuring basic fairness: Civil asset forfeiture reform in Alabama

Protection against unreasonable searches and seizures is a basic guarantee of both the U.S. and Alabama constitutions. But Alabama’s civil asset forfeiture policies allow police to seize cars, cash or other personal property without a conviction – or even a criminal charge – if they find probable cause to link the property to a crime. [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
February 8, 2019
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Automatic voter registration: Streamlining a basic right

Voting rights are a flashpoint in Alabama’s history. The long denial of those rights to African Americans led to Bloody Sunday in Selma, the march to Montgomery and eventually passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In the half-century since, our state has taken a few steps that increase voting access for communities of [...]
Issue
Voting Rights
Date
January 11, 2019
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Public transit is an investment in Alabama’s future

It’s time to jump-start public transportation in Alabama. Our lack of state support for this vital service is hurting people, communities and the broader economy. Many Alabama seniors, people with disabilities, and people with low incomes rely on public transit to go to work, get to the doctor and run essential errands. Yet unlike almost [...]
Issue
Public Transportation
Date
January 11, 2019
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Medicaid work requirement hurts struggling families

Alabama Medicaid is trying to take health coverage away from our state’s poorest parents struggling to make ends meet. Gov. Kay Ivey has to get federal permission to make this harmful change. Here’s why that shouldn’t happen: The work requirement creates a no-win, catch-22 situation. It targets 75,000 of the poorest Alabamians. It’s a trap: They [...]
Issue
Health
Date
November 25, 2018
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Proposed Alabama Medicaid changes are ‘a catch-22 that forces people into the coverage gap,’ Alabama Arise tells officials

Alabama’s proposed new Medicaid work requirement waiver would be costly, counterproductive, ineffective and harmful to thousands of families who live in deep poverty, Alabama Arise wrote in official comments submitted to state Medicaid officials on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. “Threatening loss of health care in an attempt to force work efforts, without providing the supports that [...]
Issue
Health
Date
October 11, 2018
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Payday lending reform: Ending a debt trap in Alabama

On busy highways and run-down streets across the state, you can’t miss them: big, bright signs promising easy money. From payday loans to auto title pawns to anticipation loans on tax refunds, Alabamians face a dizzying array of credit services designed to trap consumers in financial quicksand. This fact sheet highlights the pitfalls of payday [...]
Issue
Payday & Title Lending Reform
Date
May 31, 2018
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

Proposed new SNAP work requirements would harm struggling families across Alabama

Congress is considering legislation that would impose harsh work requirements on participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP, also known as food stamps, is part of the U.S. Farm Bill that must be reauthorized by Sept. 30, 2018. The version of the Farm Bill that has passed the House Agriculture Committee contains harmful and [...]
Issue
Safety Net
Date
May 1, 2018
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Why SNAP and the Farm Bill matter to Alabama

The Farm Bill is a federal law that funds and governs many food and agricultural programs. It must be renewed about every five years and is up for reauthorization now. The largest program in it is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides vital food assistance to people with very low incomes. It also plays [...]
Issue
Safety Net
Date
April 18, 2018
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

SB 55: Allowing ALEA to issue hardship driving permits makes sense for Alabama

Update: SB 55 is now law! Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill on March 22, following votes in the Alabama House (95-1) and Senate (26-1) to pass a conference committee version of the bill on March 15. Earlier, the House voted 88-5 for a similar version on March 1, while the Senate voted 26-1 for [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
March 22, 2018
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

4 reasons why a new state tax break for private school tuition would hurt public education in Alabama

Update: Arise members stopped this plan in its tracks! After lawmakers received hundreds of emails and phone calls from our supporters opposing this bill, the Senate amended HB 251 on March 14 to remove the language that would have created a tax break for private school tuition. The House agreed to the change on March [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
March 22, 2018
Author
Kimble Forrister
Fact Sheet

Alabama’s renter protections at risk under HB 421

Just three days. If HB 421 becomes law, that’s all the time Alabama renters would get to correct a minor lease violation before landlords could kick them out of their homes. It would be a bad deal for more than 1 million Alabamians who rent their homes. HB 421, sponsored by Rep. David Sessions, R-Grand Bay, [...]
Issue
Housing
Date
February 28, 2018
Author
Dev Wakeley
Fact Sheet

New Medicaid hurdles would create barriers to health in Alabama

The Trump administration is encouraging states to impose work requirements on “non-elderly, non-pregnant adult Medicaid beneficiaries who are eligible for Medicaid on a basis other than disability.” State Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar told lawmakers the agency likely will seek approval for such a requirement this year. SB 140, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and HB 331, [...]
Issue
Health
Date
February 1, 2018
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Four reasons to oppose work requirements for Alabama Medicaid

(1) The vast majority of enrollees are children or otherwise exempt. Medicaid covers about 1 million Alabamians (roughly one in every five people in the state), and most of them are children. Almost all of the rest are seniors, pregnant women, or people with disabilities who would be exempt from work requirements. Only about 7.5 percent of [...]
Issue
Health
Date
January 26, 2018
Author
Chris Sanders
Fact Sheet

A new way forward: The Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund

Alabama is one of only five states with no state funding for public transportation. That lack of investment makes it difficult or even impossible for tens of thousands of low-income Alabamians to get to work, the doctor’s office or other places they need to go when they need to get there. It also means our [...]
Issue
Public Transportation
Date
January 17, 2018
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Keep kids covered: Congressional inaction threatens ALL Kids coverage for Alabama children

Federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has expired, and health coverage for millions of American kids is at stake. Despite a history of strong bipartisan support, Congress allowed a Sept. 30 deadline to pass without renewing federal funding for the program, which offers affordable coverage for children whose low- and moderate-income families don’t [...]
Issue
Health
Date
October 27, 2017
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

What’s at stake for Alabama Medicaid?

Our state simply can't afford any more Medicaid cuts. Alabama's Medicaid program is essential, and it has already been cut to the bone. More than 1 million people -- or one in five Alabamians -- have Medicaid coverage, and almost all of them are children, seniors, pregnant women, or people with disabilities. Medicaid covers thousands of [...]
Issue
Health
Date
July 15, 2017
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Budgets for FY 2018 fall short of real need

The Alabama Legislature last week passed 2018 state budgets that once again fall short of meeting critical needs. While lawmakers avoided a repeat of last year’s General Fund (GF) crisis, which required a special session to resolve, the new budgets highlight structural flaws that will continue to hinder public services in our state until leaders [...]
Issue
Budgets
Date
May 26, 2017
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

SB 284 offers Alabama consumers protections from high-cost loans and moves lending reform forward

Most states have laws against usury, or excessive interest. Alabama’s Small Loan Act of 1959 caps the interest rate on traditional small, short-term loans at 3 percent a month, or an annual percentage rate (APR) of 36 percent. But more recent laws covering payday and auto title lenders allow APRs many times higher than that. For [...]
Issue
Payday & Title Lending Reform
Date
March 23, 2017
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Juries matter: Why Alabama must end judicial override

The right to a trial by jury is one of the most sacred elements of the American criminal justice system. The basic principle of being judged by a jury of peers is a cornerstone of a nation built on a populist spirit and suspicion of elites. But in Alabama, members of a jury in a capital [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
February 15, 2017
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

A higher minimum wage would help Alabama families make ends meet and strengthen our state’s economy

Too many hard-working Alabamians aren’t paid enough to get ahead. Alabama ranks in the bottom third of states for average hourly wages. Around 77,000 Alabamians earn wages at or below the $7.25 per hour minimum established by the federal government in 2009, and another 394,000 earn less than $10 an hour. In the absence of a [...]
Issue
Economic Opportunity
Date
February 8, 2017
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

What Alabamians should know about a state lottery

On the question of a state lottery, Arise’s member organizations hold widely varying positions, some of them based on strong moral or religious beliefs. Because our bylaws prevent us from taking positions that deeply divide our membership or offend members’ deeply held beliefs, Arise Citizens' Policy Project and Alabama Arise are neutral on the lottery. However, [...]
Issue
Budgets
Date
August 12, 2016
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

A long-term budget fix includes Medicaid expansion

As Alabama lawmakers grapple to prevent devastating Medicaid cuts, the time is right to address a related threat to our state: the health coverage gap. Nearly 200,000 Alabama workers we depend on every day – in agriculture, food service, retail, home health and other fields – have no access to regular health care. They have no [...]
Issue
Health
Date
August 11, 2016
Author
Jim Carnes
Fact Sheet

A menu of options to improve voting rights in Alabama

Alabama is famous around the world for our historic fights over equal access to the polls. Our entire democratic system depends on how elections are structured and who can participate. When barriers exclude people from voting, they often lose faith in a system that doesn’t seem to value their voice in our society’s decision-making process. [...]
Issue
Voting Rights
Date
March 7, 2016
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

Death is different: Reforming Alabama’s capital punishment system

How sure are you that human beings will get it right every single time? A single small mistake in a death penalty case could result in an unjust execution – an error that can never be corrected. People accused of capital crimes deserve every possible safeguard to ensure the integrity of a conviction. Several bills [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
March 7, 2016
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

Cigarette tax for Medicaid: A win-win to improve health and fill Alabama’s revenue gap

The future of Alabama Medicaid is on the line as lawmakers consider a threadbare 2017 General Fund budget. Without significant new revenue, Medicaid would not only lose the promising regional care organizations (RCOs) set to launch in October but also would cut vital services and doctor payments. Those cuts could place the Medicaid program itself [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
March 7, 2016
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

‘Ban the box’ law would help rebuild lives in Alabama

How sure are you that human beings will get it right every single time? A single small mistake in a death penalty case could result in an unjust execution – an error that can never be corrected. People accused of capital crimes deserve every possible safeguard to ensure the integrity of a conviction. Several bills [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
March 4, 2016
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

A big win for second chances: Alabama’s lifetime SNAP and TANF bans end

It’s a quiet win for thousands of Alabamians seeking to rebuild their lives and provide for their families: Alabama is joining the majority of U.S. states by allowing people with a past felony drug conviction to receive SNAP food assistance and TANF financial assistance, as long as they are otherwise eligible. The effective starting date for [...]
Issues
Criminal Justice, Safety Net
Date
January 29, 2016
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

SNAP time limits: What you need to know

Many unemployed Alabama adults once again face strict time limits for assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. These “able-bodied adults without dependents” – folks who do not live in a SNAP household with children – will be allowed to receive SNAP benefits for only three months during a three-year [...]
Issue
Safety Net
Date
January 21, 2016
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

All voices heard: How to modernize voting in Alabama

Alabama forever will be linked to the struggle for voting rights. An important question today is whether our state can shed its legacy of voter suppression, or whether we will continue to be seen as hostile to the idea of equal voting access and broad participation in democracy. A 2015 report on healthy democracies ranked Alabama [...]
Issue
Voting Rights
Date
November 6, 2015
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

Home at last: The Alabama Housing Trust Fund (2015 update)

A home is more than just somewhere to sleep at night. It’s a stable foundation from which people can work to build better lives for themselves and their families. It’s a place where people can put down roots and team with their neighbors to create and maintain a supportive, thriving community. It’s a sanctuary that gives [...]
Issue
Housing
Date
November 3, 2015
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

6 things to know about the FICA deduction

The Alabama Legislature may consider removing the state FICA income tax deduction during 2015’s second special session. Without significant new General Fund revenue, the state may make enormous cuts to Medicaid, child care, public safety and other vital services. As lawmakers decide how to address the General Fund shortfall, here are six things to know about [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
September 9, 2015
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

7 things to know about the cigarette tax

The Alabama Legislature is considering a cigarette tax increase during 2015’s second special session. Without significant new General Fund revenue, the state may make enormous cuts to Medicaid, child care, public safety and other vital services. As lawmakers decide how to address the General Fund shortfall, here are seven things to know about tobacco taxes.
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
September 9, 2015
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

The high costs of payday and auto title lending in Alabama

How much should people have to pay to get financial help in a tight spot? Payday and auto title lending are two forms of high-cost credit marketed toward Alabamians who are desperate for short-term cash. These loans carry triple-digit interest rates that can threaten the economic well-being of borrowers who fall behind on payments.
Issue
Payday & Title Lending Reform
Date
August 13, 2015
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

New revenue for a stronger Alabama

What makes a state strong? We likely all could agree on a few answers: healthy people, a dependable workforce, a stable government, safe streets and vibrant communities. But without new revenue to address a huge General Fund budget shortfall, Alabama will face devastating cuts to education, health care, public safety and other vital services that make [...]
Issue
Budgets
Date
July 1, 2015
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

Health security for Alabama’s working families

Hundreds of thousands of uninsured Alabamians would qualify for Medicaid if Alabama expanded eligibility to adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. (That's about $15,000 a year for individuals and $31,000 a year for a family of four.) Many hard-working Alabamians have no health coverage because they earn too much to [...]
Issues
Health, Medicaid Expansion
Date
March 31, 2015
Author
Jim Carnes
Fact Sheet

Private planning: The forces behind your power bill

People don’t have a choice about whether to buy electricity. Quite simply, it’s one of the things we’ve got to have to survive in the modern world. Your only real choice is how much you use – and even that amount can’t reasonably go below a certain threshold.
Issue
Other
Date
December 18, 2014
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

The basics: WIC saves lives, prevents malnutrition

Congress established WIC in the 1970s to try to reduce disturbingly high infant death rates, and the program has been a success story ever since. Infant mortality rates in Alabama and nationwide have fallen by nearly two-thirds since the creation of the program officially known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. [...]
Issue
Safety Net
Date
August 15, 2014
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

The basics: Alabama’s meager but vital TANF program

The cost of living has increased in the last two decades, but federal money for temporary cash aid for very low-income families has not kept up. The federal government in 1997 froze its allocations for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, informally known as welfare. Since then, the number of families receiving benefits has [...]
Issue
Safety Net
Date
July 10, 2014
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

The basics: Child nutrition programs in Alabama

Many hungry children miss out on far more than regular meals. Hunger can do serious, long-term harm to a child's health and ability to learn, and childhood hunger is a bigger challenge in Alabama than in most other states. More than one in four of the state's children live in families with incomes below the poverty [...]
Issue
Safety Net
Date
June 10, 2014
Author
Carol Gundlach
Fact Sheet

Out of step: Alabama’s unusual state tax system

Taxes are the tools that Americans use to pay for education, public health, transportation and other elements of the common good. But in Alabama, the tax system is upside down, with low- and middle-income people paying twice the share of their income in state and local taxes that the top 1 percent pay. This updated fact [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
April 22, 2014
Author
Chris Sanders
Fact Sheet

Hidden power: The story behind your electric bill

For most of us, the monthly electric bill is a fact of life. Though its share of the household budget rises and falls with consumption, electricity ranks with water, food and shelter as an essential expense. Meeting this demand in homes and businesses across Alabama requires production and distribution on an enormous scale. Because of [...]
Issue
Other
Date
June 25, 2013
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

Against the tide: The death penalty in Alabama

In Alabama, the death penalty is a curious exception to concerns about government efficiency. When it comes to executing people, a majority of Alabamians appear to trust the government to get it right every time. Lack of transparency in our capital punishment system prompts little public comment. Similarly, on the fiscal side, calls for reducing Alabama's [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
December 6, 2012
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

No-frills Alabama Medicaid brings health care, jobs

Alabamians often are surprised to learn that Medicaid is a major engine for the state's economy. Medicaid creates thousands of jobs, supports rural hospitals and the state's only children's hospital, pays for medical equipment that all patients use, boosts tax revenue in local communities and enhances our quality of life. Medicaid touches the lives of average [...]
Issue
Health
Date
April 17, 2012
Author
M.J. Ellington
Fact Sheet

Ending the state grocery tax and protecting schools

Alabama's tax system is upside down, and the state sales tax on groceries is one reason why. Alabama remains one of only two states -- the other is Mississippi -- with no tax break on groceries. Food costs consume a larger portion of the household budget for low-income families than for those who are better off, so [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
March 13, 2012
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

A temporary halt: Alabama’s executions

Alabama has a long and tangled history with the death penalty. A Tuskegee University archive preserves the grim evidence of the "lynch law" that long terrorized African Americans. The state's historic enthusiasm for legal executions, which remains strong, bears the stain of racism as well. One measure of the problem is the frequency of national court [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
January 6, 2012
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

Alabama bound: Our unjust 1901 constitution

Advocates for a new Alabama constitution have been divided for decades over how best to achieve that goal. Some have wanted to hold a convention at which elected delegates would craft a new constitution all at once, subject to voter approval. Others have favored a gradual, article-by-article rewrite. A recent development may render the debate moot, at [...]
Issue
Other
Date
November 1, 2011
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

A tax on survival: Grocery tax policies in America

Food takes a much bigger bite out of the household budget for low-income families than for richer ones, and sales taxes on groceries thus hit harder at lower incomes. In recognition of this fact, most states either have exempted groceries from state sales taxes entirely or have devised ways to help offset grocery taxes for low-income [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
June 24, 2011
Author
Chris Sanders
Fact Sheet

Hands on: Alabama’s adult workforce development

As Alabama recovers from a recession that undercut a wave of record economic growth and employment, workforce development policymakers face a two-fold challenge: getting thousands of Alabamians back to work and gearing up the broader workforce for systemic changes in the economy. This fact sheet offers an overview of skills training programs and related components of Alabama's [...]
Issue
Economic Opportunity
Date
June 24, 2011
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Teamwork for the common good

If you talk to a low-income Alabamian about the state's tax system, you're liable to hear two things. One is a boast that the state has some of the nation's lowest taxes. The other is a complaint that, nevertheless, the person pays too much in taxes. The statements may sound contradictory, but both are grounded in [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
May 27, 2011
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Same work, less pay: The wage gap in Alabama

Imagine the uproar if football officials suddenly were to declare touchdowns worth six points for one team but only five points for the other. Many workers both in Alabama and nationwide encounter just that sort of shortfall with every paycheck they receive. Despite decades of steady improvement, sizable earnings gaps remain between women and men and [...]
Issue
Economic Opportunity
Date
January 27, 2011
Author
Chris Sanders
Fact Sheet

Hard cash: Predatory lending in Alabama

On busy highways and run-down streets across the state, you can't miss them -- big, bright signs promising easy money. From payday loans to refund anticipation loans to title pawns, Alabamians face a dizzying array of credit services designed to trap consumers in financial quicksand. This updated fact sheet provides new information on predatory lending in Alabama.
Issue
Payday & Title Lending Reform
Date
October 7, 2010
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

Stuck: Low-wage jobs are holding Alabama back

No matter what lies ahead for Alabama's economy, a high school diploma is no longer a ticket for employment. We emphasize this point with students, but we leave underprepared adults in the lurch. And it will require more than just each year's crop of high school graduates to meet the new economy's demands. Effective workforce development [...]
Issue
Economic Opportunity
Date
September 30, 2010
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

A sense of scale: Small businesses in Alabama

Lawmakers often debate how a bill would affect small businesses, but no single official definition of "small business" exists. What are small businesses, anyway? How are they taxed in Alabama? And do small businesses survive or fail because of taxes, or do other factors play larger roles? This fact sheet answers these questions and more.
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
July 20, 2010
Author
Chris Sanders
Fact Sheet

Big piece of a small pie: Alabama’s tax paradox

If you talk to a low-income Alabamian about the state's tax system, you're liable to hear two things. One is a boast that the state has some of the nation's lowest taxes. The other is a complaint that, nevertheless, the person pays too much in taxes. The statements may sound contradictory, but both are grounded in [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
February 16, 2010
Author
Chris Sanders
Fact Sheet

IDAs: Building assets to break the chains of poverty

With just a small investment in a federally sponsored asset-building strategy known as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), Alabama could help hundreds of low-income workers break the chains of poverty by saving for education, housing or entrepreneurship. This fact sheet explains how IDAs work, how they're funded and how Alabama can move forward with this innovative program.
Issue
Economic Opportunity
Date
December 6, 2007
Author
Chris Sanders
Fact Sheet

Alabama roadblock: Our public transit gap

Inadequate public transportation keeps thousands of Alabamians from meeting basic needs.More than 50 years after the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) provides no public transit funding. A 1952 amendment to Alabama's constitution makes it illegal to use state gas tax and license fee revenuse -- a logical source of transit funds [...]
Issue
Public Transportation
Date
February 18, 2004
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

Getting by: The challenge of measuring poverty

Defining poverty is a difficult task. The researcher who developed the poverty threshold called them a measure of "income inadequacy." That is, they reflect a general agreement about how much is too little to live on, rather than how much is enough. This fact sheet describes how the government measures poverty and offers an alternative measure called the Self-Sufficiency Standard [...]
Issue
Economic Opportunity
Date
January 5, 2004
Author
Jim Carnes