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Alabama’s K-12 funding cuts since 2008 are nation’s second deepest
Only one state has cut K-12 education funding more deeply than Alabama since the Great Recession began, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C. On a per-pupil basis, Alabama led the nation in cuts.
The cuts have slowed Alabama’s economic recovery and could hurt the state’s future economic growth, ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. “Alabama needs good schools and an educated workforce to compete in a global economy,” Forrister said. “Education opens the doors of opportunity for everyone, and we only hurt ourselves when we undermine it.”
Medicaid expansion, payday lending reform among Arise's 2015 issue priorities
Medicaid expansion, payday and auto title lending reform, and low-income housing will be among the goals on ACPP’s 2015 legislative agenda. ACPP and Alabama Arise members selected the groups’ issue priorities at their annual meeting Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Montgomery. Other issue priorities include tax reform, public transportation, repeal of the Alabama Accountability Act, and an end to the state's lifetime SNAP eligibility ban for people with a past felony drug conviction.
"This is our blueprint for a better Alabama," ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. "Our members see in their communities that too many families struggle to afford basics like food, health care, housing and transportation. These proposals would help hard-working Alabamians meet their needs and build a better life for their children."
New local health insurance data will help efforts to get more Alabamians covered
ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released data showing the number of Alabamians in each ZIP code who signed up for insurance coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace through April 19, 2014:
“We’re eager to see data showing which parts of Alabama saw the most residents sign up for Marketplace health coverage this year. These figures will be a great tool to help advocates know where to concentrate their efforts as they work in the coming months to help more Alabamians sign up for coverage in 2015.
“Thanks to the hard work of numerous health advocacy groups and trained volunteers, nearly 100,000 Alabamians signed up for Marketplace coverage. That easily topped the state’s goal for this year, and it’s a huge success story for the Affordable Care Act. These numbers will make it easier to identify coverage gaps and build on the success of this year’s enrollment drive in 2015.”
Child poverty remains disturbingly high in Alabama, new Census data show
New Census Bureau data showing that more than one in four Alabama children lived in poverty in 2013 underscores the need for Alabama to do more to help families get ahead and to help children get a good start in life, ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. The state’s disturbingly high child poverty rate – 27 percent, or 3 percentage points higher than it was in 2007 – shows that many families still have not recovered from the Great Recession.
"If we want Alabama to be a better place to live and work, we must invest in our people and our communities," Forrister said. "Making it easier for people to move up the economic ladder not only helps struggling families, but it also makes the economy stronger for all of us."
Medicaid expansion would be a huge plus for Alabama's working adults
The number of people without health care coverage in Alabama remained high in 2013, according to Census Bureau data released Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. More than one in five working-age Alabamians, and more than one in eight Alabamians overall, lacked health insurance last year. The state's uninsured rate showed no progress between 2012 and 2013.
Medicare, Medicaid and ALL Kids play a significant role in ensuring health coverage for children and seniors in Alabama. Nearly 96 percent of children were insured last year, as were almost all seniors. By expanding Medicaid to cover more people, Alabama could boost the number of low-income, working-age adults who have health insurance, ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said.
"We have the chance to help those who can't afford health insurance receive the care they need at a very low cost to the state," Forrister said. "Medicaid expansion would be good for our residents, good for our hospitals and good for our economy. It would be a mistake to let this opportunity pass."
Alabama one of four states with no state-level EITC or minimum wage
Alabama is one of only four states with neither a state minimum wage nor a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), according to a recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C. By adopting these two policies, which the CBPP calls "twin pillars of making work pay" for low-income families, Alabama could seize two powerful opportunities to boost consumer spending, reduce income inequality and lift thousands of families out of poverty.
"Too many working Alabamians can't afford basics like nutritious food, decent housing and reliable transportation because their wages are simply too low," ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. "A state EITC and a higher state minimum wage would allow hundreds of thousands of hard-working Alabamians to spend a little more at the grocery store or the drugstore. These policies also would make it easier to pay for quality child care, emergency car repairs and other things that allow people to keep working."