Tax plan to create ‘winners, losers’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2003

&uot;Every segment of the state of Alabama will be affected by this program.&uot;

So said Ralph Stacy in a presentation concerning Gov. Riley’s proposed tax plan and its anticipated affect on businesses, schools and families in the state.

Speaking to the Greenville Lions Club on Monday, Stacy, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, reminded those present of the tremendous changes that have taken place in society over the past decades.

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&uot;Think of all the things we now have that we didn’t have growing up. We have cell phones, computers, digital cameras, microwaves, and DVD players…all these changes we’ve seen in the last 25 years. Yet, our state’s tax structure hasn’t changed since 1978,&uot; Stacy noted.

According to Stacy, Alabama currently ranks 46th out of 50 states in business taxes.

He said the passage of the tax proposal would move the state to 41st place. &uot;It would allow us to get out of peroration and to fund state agencies,&uot; Stacy said.

Those who would benefit most from the proposed tax plan, Stacy said, include low-income families, students, teachers and school boards.

&uot;Right now, we have the lowest starting base for income tax in the nation—it’s ridiculous.

This plan would give a real break to those with lower incomes.

&uot;Students would benefit.

By maintaining a 3.0 grade average and a 20 on the ACT they could earn scholarships,&uot; Stacy explained.

While teachers’ insurance premiums would rise under the new plan, &uot;More teachers will be employed,&uot; he noted.

School boards would also be able to remove under-performing teachers more quickly.

The biggest losers, according to Stacy, would be timber companies (due to the $2000 limit on tax breaks) and smokers (with a 14.5 cents per pack tax added).

"State employees will probably break even on this," he added.

Raises in individual and corporate taxes should yield an additional $460 million for the state coffers, Stacy noted.

"In regard to individual and families, some will pay more taxes; many, however, will pay less," he added.

"This is all going to come before the people in a referendum, so the people have to ask, is this what we want?

Several businesses have already endorsed Riley's planmy organization will be meeting Wednesday to decide on our view.

I assure you, it will be a pro-business decision," Stacy emphasized.

"Businesses in Alabama have traditionally been problem solvers. This [tax plan] is no perfect solution, but then, there is no perfection in politics," he noted.