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