Taylor talks economy

Published 8:39 am Thursday, January 26, 2012

By ROBBYN BROOKS
BNI News Services

With Alabama’s 2012 Legislative Session convening in only a couple of weeks, District 30 Sen. Brian Taylor has a lot on his mind.

“Our number one job is going to be putting people back to work and growing the economy,” Taylor said Wednesday.

Taylor said he would be working to help provide economic incentives to make sure industries are looking at rural counties to make their homes.

“I want to see us work harder to help existing industry, especially small business,” Taylor said. “Anything we can do to help them be more profitable and give them the opportunity to grow will create new jobs.”

One way Taylor said he sees the Legislature can help is to provide tax relief in the way the state collects sales tax. Currently, business owners must estimate their taxes and pay them in advance before any money is collected.

“That’s basically taking money out of the pockets of small business owners before they have even earned it,” Taylor said.

One of the already hot-button issues is Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposed united budget that would combine funds for general use with education funds.

“Our budget needs structural changes, but I’m not sure now is the time to do that because we are pretty lean already in the education budget,” Taylor said. “There’s not a strong likelihood this will garner the support needed to pass.”

Taylor said he feels budget problems can be fixed if the government focuses on the economy and growing the tax base, improving the quality of life for all state residents.

There are two issues Taylor feels must be addressed in the upcoming session to protect Alabama citizens. First, he plans to introduce a bill to crack down on payday lenders.

“In an economy like this, it is unconscionable that Alabama allows completely unregulated predatory lending,” Taylor said. “It’s a consumer protection issue.”

Taylor also hopes to repeal the Legislative pay raise and replace it with a system to ensure the Legislature will never give itself a pay raise again.

“It’s about accountability,” Taylor said.

Toward the end of the session, the issue of redistricting could be raised again. The Alabama Legislative Committee on Reapportionment is responsible for drafting plans for redistricting in state House and Senate, along with U.S. Congressional seats and the State Board of Education.

“I’ve continued to make a very strong case to the chairman to continue to keep District 30 in tact,” Taylor said. “If you move one line, it effects lines everywhere.”

The 2012 session begins Feb. 7 at noon.

“There is a lot of work to be done,” Taylor said. “The potential is there. There is no reason we can’t accomplish what we set out to accomplish.”