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ACPP news releases
Report: Alabama's process to estimate revenues lags those of other states
Alabama should improve the way it estimates revenues to create a more fiscally responsible budget, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C. In the report's evaluation of how states estimate annual revenues, Alabama scored only a 1 on a scale of zero to five because it lacks some practices that Kentucky, Louisiana and other states use to help create strong estimates to guide state spending on education, health care, public safety and other vital public services.
"Our state's revenue estimating process has room for improvement," ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. "Lawmakers should reform it to improve fiscal discipline and create a more robust debate about how Alabama raises and spends money."
Most Alabamians who would benefit from Medicaid expansion are working
Nearly 185,000 uninsured Alabamians working in a range of important jobs could gain health coverage if Alabama closed its Medicaid coverage gap, according to a new report released by ACPP and Families USA. That number is more than half of the 342,000 low-income Alabamians who could gain access to affordable health coverage through Medicaid expansion, the report finds.
"Too many hard-working Alabamians are caught in the coverage gap," ACPP policy director Jim Carnes said. "These are the people all around us who keep things going. Without coverage, they often struggle to work while health problems sap their productivity, add stress to their households and get worse without timely care. Imagine what a difference regular health care could make for families' lives, for our workforce and for our economy."
Montgomery council vote a bold step to protect consumers from spread of high-cost lending
Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Wednesday, May 21, 2014, on the Montgomery City Council’s vote May 20, 2014, to limit the locations where new payday lenders and title pawn companies can open:
“Montgomery has lived up to its role as Alabama’s capital city by taking a bold move to protect its citizens from high-cost lending. Montgomery residents should applaud their local leaders for the new ordinance limiting payday and title lenders’ ability to keep spreading across the city. Clusters of these storefronts create blight, and high interest rates leave too many desperate borrowers trapped in deep cycles of debt.
“People deserve fair credit terms, but triple-digit annual interest rates on payday and title loans are nothing of the sort. Statewide reform is only possible at the Legislature, but the City of Montgomery deserves praise for acting boldly to help protect citizens from legalized usury.
“Many other cities across the state also have passed moratoriums or restrictions on such lenders, including Birmingham, Decatur, Eufaula, Jasper, Northport and Tuscaloosa. Support for lending reform is growing across Alabama, and we’re excited that momentum for change keeps building.”
'Community eligibility' could help Alabama schools fight child hunger
More than 900 schools across two-thirds of Alabama's school districts could use "community eligibility" to provide free school meals to all of their students starting this fall, the state Department of Education said May 1, 2014. Districts have until June 30, 2014, to decide if some or all of their schools will participate. Community eligibility helps ensure that low-income children, many of whom live in families struggling to put food on the table, have access to healthy meals at school.
"Schools in Alabama should seize this opportunity," ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. "Adopting community eligibility could make a real difference in the lives of thousands of children who otherwise might struggle to get enough food to eat each day."
Alabama Marketplace numbers a big win for our state
Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Thursday, May 1, 2014, on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ release of Alabama figures for the initial open enrollment period in the Health Insurance Marketplace:
“Alabamians are eager for the chance to access quality, affordable health coverage, and today’s enrollment report for the Health Insurance Marketplace proves it. Nearly 98,000 Alabamians signed up for Marketplace plans during the first open enrollment period. That number tops the federal sign-up goal for Alabama, and it means tens of thousands of hard-working Alabamians can rest easier every night knowing they have the protection of health insurance.
“Alabama’s strong performance shows the power of word of mouth and strategic partnerships. Interest grew throughout the open enrollment period as more people told their friends and families how easy it is to enroll and how good it feels to have coverage. As the technical challenges subsided, enrollment organizations across the state had more time to build partnerships, identify gaps and work together on outreach.
“One number we’re especially proud of in Alabama is the 31 percent of our enrollees who are in the 18 to 34 age group, the healthiest segment of the population. The Bama Covered initiative played a big role by encouraging young people to enroll themselves and also to spread the word in their communities. That youthful energy helped Alabama pass our sign-up goal, and it created momentum for continuing efforts to extend quality health coverage to even more Alabamians in the future.”