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‘Raising Taxes’ Not On Ballot

‘Raising Taxes’ Not On Ballot
August 12, 2003 |

When voters go to the polls on Sept. 9, they will be handed a ballot asking them to vote “yes” or “no” on establishing a fund to pay for college scholarships and other programs, but the proposed constitutional amendment conveniently omits two key words: “raising taxes.”The language is so vague, conservative organizations are sending out e-mails and faxes to make sure their members understand a “yes” vote is to raise $1.2 billion in taxes and a “no” vote would be against passage of Gov. Bob Riley’s tax package. The wording of the amendment also drew fire from the TimesDaily of Florence. In an editorial titled “Where’s The Tax?” the newspaper said, “The ballot should be written in plain English. It should state, clearly, that what voters are being asked to decide is whether to TAX themselves at higher levels than they now are assessed.”The wording used on the ballot was set by the Alabama Legislature in one of the bills it passed as part of Gov. Riley’s tax increase. It proposes a constitutional amendment “establishing the Alabama Excellence Initiative Fund,” which would be used to fund college scholarships and other programs. The language says the amendment would “adjust income and property taxes,” but does not say those taxes and others will be higher for Alabama residents.”This is typical of the campaign that this is. They are not being straight forward with the people of Alabama about many things,” Roger McConnell, chairman of the Tax Accountability Coalition told The Associated Press.The $1.2 billion tax hike is designed to fill an anticipated $675 million deficit in next year’s budget. Among the tax increases included in the plan are provisions that would:• Raise property taxes on homes, land and vehicles;• Eliminate state income tax deductions for property taxes, federal income tax payments and Social Security (FICA) and Medicare withholdings; and• Impose the state 4 percent sales tax on labor charges for repair and installation services.PROPOSED AMENDMENT”Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, establishing the Alabama Excellence Initiative Fund which may be used to fund programs including, but not limited to, the furtherance of excellence in public education, college scholarships, health care benefits for senior citizens and job training programs to attract new high-paying jobs and otherwise provide for distributing state tax revenues; to adjust income and property taxes; to establish the General Fund Rainy Day Account; to provide for the replenishment of the General Fund Rainy Day Account and the Education Trust Fund Rainy Day Account.”

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