Look Who's Linking to PoliBlog:
Absinthe and Cookies
Accidental Verbosity
Admiral Quixote's Roundtable
All Day Permanent Red
All Things Jennifer
Ann Althouse
The American Mind
Arguing with signposts
Arms and influence
The Astute Blogger
Asymmeterical Information
B-Town Blog Boys
Backcountry Conservative
Balloon Juice
Bananas and Such Begging to Differ
The Bemusement Park
Bewtween the Coasts
Betsy's Page
The Big Picture
Blogs for Bush
The Blog of Daniel Sale
Boots and Sabers
The Bully Pulpit
Cadillac Tight
Caffeinated Musing
California Yankee
Captain's Quarters
Chicago Report
Chicagoland of Confusion
Citizen Smash
Collected Thoughts
The Command Post
Common Sense and Wonder
Confessions Of A Political Junkie
The Conservative Philosopher
Conservative Revolution
Conservative and Right
Cranial Cavity
The Daily Lemon
Daly Thoughts
DANEgerus Weblog
Dart Frog on a Cactus
Dean's World Dear Free World
Brad DeLong
Democracy Project
The Disagreeable Conservative Curmudgeon
Down to the Piraeus
Drink this...
Earl's log
Earthly Passions
The Education Wonks
the evangelical outpost
Eye of the Storm
Firepower Forward
The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles
The Friendly Ghost
Fruits and Votes
Functional, if not decorative
The Galvin Opinion
The Glittering Eye
Haight Speech
The Hedgehog Report
Heh. Indeed.
Hennessy's View
High Desert Skeptic
The Hillary Project
History and Perceptions
Robert Holcomb
I love Jet Noise
Idlewild South
Independent Thinker
Insults Unpunished
Internet Ronin
Ipse Dixit
It Can't Rain All The Time...
The Jay Blog
Jen Speaks
Joefish's Freshwater Blog
John Lemon blog
Judicious Asininity
Jump In, The Water's Fine!
Just On The Other Side
A Knight's Blog
The Kudzu Files
Let's Try Freedom
Liberty Father
Life and Law
David Limbaugh
Locke, or Demosthenes?
Mad Minerva
Gary Manca
Mark the Pundit
Mediocre but Unexciting
Mental Hiccups
Miller's Time
Mind of Mog
Minorities For Bush
Mr. Hawaii
The Moderate Voice
The Modulator
Much Ado
Mungowitz End
My opinion counts
my thoughts, without the penny charge
My Word
Neophyte Pundit
Neutiquam erro
New England Republican
NewsHawk Daily
neWs Round-Up
No Pundit Intended
Nobody asked me, but...
Obsidian Wings
Occam's Toothbrush
On the Fritz
On the Third Hand
One Fine Jay
Out of Context
Outside the Beltway
Suman Palit
Passionate America
Brian Patton
Peppermint Patty
John Pierce
The Politicker
The Politburo Diktat
Political Annotation
Political Blog For The Politically Incorrect
Power Politics
Practical Penumbra
Priorities & Frivolities
Prof. Blogger's Pontifications
Pros and Cons
protein wisdom
Pundit Heads
The Queen of All Evil
Quotes, Thoughts, and other Ramblings
Ramblings' Journal
Random Acts of Kindness
Random Nuclear Strikes
Ranting Rationalist
Read My Lips
Reagan Country
Red State Diaries
A Republican's Blog
The Review
Rhett Write
Right Side of the Rainbow
Right Wingin-It
Right Wing News
Right Voices
Rightward Reasonings
riting on the wall
Rooftop Report
The Sake of Argument
Sailor in the Desert
Secular Sermons
Sha Ka Ree
Shaking Spears
She Who Will Be Obeyed!
The Skeptician
The Skewed
Slobokan's Site O' Schtuff
small dead animals
Sneakeasy's Joint
SoCal Law Blog
A Solo Dialogue
Some Great Reward
Southern Musings
Speed of Thought...
Spin Killer
Matthew J. Stinson
A Stitch in Haste
Stop the ACLU
The Strange Political Road Trip of Jane Q. Public
The Strata-Sphere
Stuff about
Suman Palit
Target Centermass
Templar Pundit
The Temporal Globe
Tex the Pontificator
Texas Native
think about it...
Tobacco Road Fogey
Toner Mishap
Tony Talks Tech
The Trimblog
Truth. Quante-fied.
Twenty First Century Republican
Unlocked Wordhoard
Use The Forks!!
Ut Humiliter Opinor
Vista On Current Events
Vox Baby
Jeff Vreeland's Blog
Wall of Sleep
Weapons of Mass Discussion
Who Knew?
The Window Manager
Winning Again!
WizBang Tech
The World Around You
The Yin Blog
You Big Mouth, You!
Zygote-Design - Alabama Weblogs

AJC's 2004 Election Politics Sites and Blogs
Campaign Finance
Welcome to World O' Blogs
WRKO-AM's "Political Junkies" list
Yahoo! Directory Political Weblogs
Young Elephant

Who Links Here

Monday, March 13, 2006
PoliColumn: Alabama Tax Politics
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:22 am

(I forgot to check to see if this ran yesterday)

From Sunday’s Mobile Register:

Tax cut is shrewd and good
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Special to the Register

The tax-cut compromise pending in the Alabama Legislature is both just and politically shrewd, and here’s why:

The state of Alabama starts collecting income taxes from a family of four at an income level $4,600 a year. As a new study published last month notes, this is the lowest level at which income taxes are levied on the poor in the country.

The next state on the list is West Virginia, and it starts taxing at the $10,000 level.

In January, Gov. Bob Riley issued a proposal to rectify this situation, and counter-proposals subsequently grew out of the legislative session.

Now, the governor and Rep. John Knight, D-Montgomery, have come to a compromise that has a good chance of being approved by the House.

The plan, which would be phased in over five years, would move the beginning of income tax collection for a family of four to $12,400. It would do so by increasing the standard deduction from $4,000 to $7,000, the personal exemption from $1,500 to $1,700, and the dependent exemption from $300 to $1,000.

The changes to the personal exemption would stop for individuals making over $100,000 and for joint filers making over $200,000.

The Riley-Knight compromise lowers the overall increases to the exemptions originally proposed by Riley, and creates the caps for high-income earners — whose taxes would not change under this plan.

Not only would this plan be a just move in regard to taxing the poor, but it is also a shrewd political move by the governor for a variety of reasons.

First, the governor’s primary opponent, Roy Moore, has one main line of attack to level at Riley in terms of public policy: that Riley attempted the largest tax increase in the state’s history when he backed Amendment One in 2003. If Riley is now championing tax cuts, that blunts Moore’s line of attack.

Yes, Moore can claim that this is an election-year conversion, but that will not obviate the fact that Riley will be in office working for tax cuts, while Moore will be on the outside trying to get in, only able to criticize.

Such are the powers of incumbency in elections.

Second, the rationale as proffered by the governor helps to reinforce his conservative “bona fides,” which Moore will also attempt to attack. Riley specifically noted in January: “If we don’t offer tax relief when we have a record surplus and will put more money into education than ever before, then when will we ever?”

Such a statement underscores a basic conservative principle that tax dollars ultimately belong to the taxpayers, not the state, and that at times of surplus, some of those dollars should be returned to the people.

And, the fact that Riley correctly notes that education spending will be at a record high helps dull the ability of critics to attack the proposal.

He also is making a favorite conservative argument that more money in the pockets of taxpayers means more economic activity in the state, which in turn ultimately means more tax revenue for the state.

If Moore cannot successfully assail Riley’s fiscal conservatism, then it is doubtful that the moral values line of attack (as exemplified by the Ten Commandments issue) will be sufficient to unseat Riley as the GOP’s nominee.

Third, these are not just run-of-the-mill tax cuts. By framing the proposal around the issue of exemptions, and thus the level at which a person starts paying income taxes in Alabama, the governor has inserted a significant element of social justice into the mix, which could appeal to moderate voters (and legislators).

As it stands, a family of four starts paying state income taxes at a remarkably low level. That this is an undue burden on those in poverty is incontrovertible, and is one of the key criticisms of our state’s tax structure.

Indeed, by the 2004 poverty standards used by the federal government, a family of four is considered at the poverty line with an annual income of $19,157 — a far cry from $4,600.

Fourth, while the plan does target low-income citizens, it still has the politically attractive element of benefiting not just the poor, but middle-and upper-middle-class taxpayers as well.

There will be criticisms of the plan, insofar as while this year may be a fat one in terms of state revenues, there is no guarantee that such a trend will continue.

Indeed, given our state’s history of budget shortfalls and painful prorations, there is a legitimate concern that the money needed to fund this cut (estimated at $200 million per annum once fully implemented, as based on a state Finance Department analysis) will not be available in the future.

The nature of fiscal policy in Alabama is that state revenues are highly dependent on the health of the state’s economy. At the moment, we are in an exceptionally healthy phase, and as a result the state’s coffers are overflowing.

However, when revenues depend on income and sales taxes, a moderate dip in economic strength could severely curtail state revenues.

Also, because the money to fund Riley’s proposed cuts come from funds earmarked for teacher salaries, Paul Hubbert of the AEA is far from impressed. However, one suspects that since Riley can hardly count on AEA’s support in the first place, that making Hubbert mad is the least of his concerns.

Apart from the potential political gain for Riley, this proposal has the more important feature of aiding the neediest of Alabama’s income-earners.

Filed under: My Columns, Alabama Politics | |Send TrackBack


  1. First of all I agree with you about the tax threshold desperately needing to be raised in Alabama, but Riley would do well to try and mend some fences with Paul Hubbert. now I don’t think any tax plan that raids the education trust find (which this one will do) would gain his support, there are other alternatives. The question that needs to be asked is whether or not Riley is willing to put election year politics over what he can achieve for political gain or not, I personally don’t think that will happen because that is the only way Roy Moore will have a chance in June.

    Comment by Talmadge East — Monday, March 13, 2006 @ 8:54 pm

  2. All I can say is if the people of Alabama elect Moore, then they deserve that jackass.

    Comment by Sonny — Monday, March 13, 2006 @ 8:55 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

The trackback url for this post is:

NOTE: I will delete any TrackBacks that do not actually link and refer to this post.

Leave a comment

Take a Look At This!

Visitors Since 2/15/03

PoliBlog is the Host site for:

A TTLB Community


Business Associates

Finance Answers

Health Benefits

Beach Homes

Car Shopping


Powered by WordPress