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 [...]
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.
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]