We’re all in this together. All of us – regardless of age, health, wealth, background or location – depend on a network of services from our local, state and national governments. From garbage collection to fire protection, from roads to schools, from public health to public safety, our tax dollars support the daily upkeep of our common good.
The 50 state governments are vital links in this network. It’s a solemn trust: Each state is responsible for ensuring the safety, general well-being and education of its people. And each state government carries out this responsibility in its own way.
As Alabamians, many of us studied our state government in fourth grade and learned a little more about it in other classes. But until we’re out making a living, paying taxes and voting, these lessons may seem disconnected from our everyday lives.
The Alabama Tax & Budget Handbook is designed to make that connection. The handbook breaks down state finances into basic functions that affect every taxpayer: What do our tax dollars pay for? How does state spending work? Where does the state get its money? It also looks at how those functions measure up – in relation to residents’ needs and abilities, as well as the performance of other states. And it offers ideas for making Alabama’s finances fairer, simpler, more adequate for meeting our needs, and more easily understood and visible to the public.