Expanding Medicaid. Improving the Quality of Health Care.
We are one of a handful of states that does not provide basic health care to those living in poverty. The Bible mentions the poor over 2000 times, yet we are living in a state of abundance where wealth is everywhere.
Our legislature refuses to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid. Even though Uncle Sam has offered to pay 90% of the bill that would provide health care to 300,000 who lack it and provide a lifeline to rural hospitals on the edge of bankruptcy. Everywhere it has been tried, early deaths and maternal mortality have declined, access to doctors and mental health services have improved.
We will never know how many die young, or how many children never make it to adulthood because they lack access to a doctor or routine medical care. What we do know is this. No state, not one spends less on health care than Alabama. We are near the bottom in life expectancy, one of the worst in infant mortality and early death by heart disease. It has been that way for decades.
We need new solutions to old problems.
Improving Our Failing Schools
We are among the worst in the nation in the performance and funding of our public schools.
Our own Governor Kay Ivey said, “Alabama is at the bottom of just about every education ranking that you can find in the country”.
She is right. We are ranked dead last in education according to US News and World Report. Next to last on math scores. Less than half of school students in grades 3-8 are proficient in reading and math. Fewer than 40% of 5th and 7th graders are proficient in science.
We rank near the bottom of the nation in preparing high school graduates for college. Three out of ten students must take remedial classes if they even go to college.
Alabama will never scale the ladder of economic prosperity, until we move our educational system off the bottom step.
Eliminating the Grocery Tax
Alabama is one of three states that still charge full sales tax on bread, food and the basic necessities of life. Not just 1% or 3% or 5%. In some counties across our state people pay 11% on sales tax on baby food, milk for their children, and bread for their school lunches. We charge higher taxes on baby formula than we do on feed for a herd of goats.
It is so hard for me to square that with the words of legislators who daily proclaim their love of children.
Alabama has an income tax and our legislators claim it’s progressive. But it’s actually the most regressive income tax in the nation. If you earn $3,000 in Alabama, you owe income taxes. If you are a single mother earning $9 working one hour a day, your tax rate is the same as a millionaire cashing their dividend check.
Low income families pay twice the share of their income in state and local taxes that top earners do.
No state punishes the poor more than Alabama. Not even Mississippi. Every poor person in Alabama wakes up every day with big black boot on their face.
It’s time to end the regressive and oppressive taxes on the working class and demand the millionaires pay their fair share.