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Alabama’s Tax Reform: What Went Wrong and Why. Dr. Jim Seroka, CGS – Auburn University Alabama Municipal Revenue Officers Association December 5, 2003. Tax Reform in Alabama Down to a Resounding Defeat. Two out of Three Alabamians Vote NO on Amendment 1 on September 9, 2003.

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alabama s tax reform what went wrong and why

Alabama’s Tax Reform:What Went Wrong and Why

Dr. Jim Seroka, CGS – Auburn University

Alabama Municipal Revenue Officers Association

December 5, 2003

2003 CGS - AMROA

tax reform in alabama down to a resounding defeat
Tax Reform in Alabama Down to a Resounding Defeat

Two out of Three Alabamians Vote NO on Amendment 1 on September 9, 2003

Governor Riley Repudiated by His Own Party

Special Session Makes Dramatic Cuts in the State Budget

2003 CGS - AMROA

alabamians who voted no were strongly influenced by
Alabamians Who Voted NO Were Strongly Influenced By:

68% - Opposition to the tax increase on cars & trucks

63% - Opposition to 100% market value state property assessment

61% -Governor wanting too much

56% - Low Trust in the Legislature

2003 CGS - AMROA

alabamians who voted yes were strongly influenced by
Alabamians Who Voted YES Were Strongly Influenced By:

66% - Possibility of Teacher Layoff

59% - The Unfairness of the Tax System

59% - The Performance-Based College Scholarship Fund

52% - Potential Closure of Senior Citizen Centers

2003 CGS - AMROA

alabamians who voted yes strongly supported
Alabamians Who Voted YES Strongly Supported:

70% - Increase in the Child Exemption on State Income Tax

65% - Increase in Cigarette Tax

61% - Large Timber Companies Paying More in Property Tax

2003 CGS - AMROA

who influenced the vote for supporters of amendment 1
Who Influenced the Vote for Supporters of Amendment 1?
  • 48% Alabama Education Association
  • 36% Governor Riley
  • 23% AARP
  • 24% Family

2003 CGS - AMROA

who influenced the vote for opponents of amendment 1
Who Influenced the Vote for Opponents of Amendment 1?
  • 22% Family
  • Not ALFA
  • Not Alabama Republican Party

2003 CGS - AMROA

the vote was not heavily influenced by
The Vote Was Not Heavily Influenced by:
  • TV Ads
  • Mass Mailings
  • Church Groups
  • Political Parties
  • Social Groups

2003 CGS - AMROA

who opposed amendment 1
Who Opposed Amendment 1?
  • 75% High School/ GED Education
  • 72% Household Income under $20,000
  • 73% Voters identified as Conservative
  • 71% Voters living in rural areas

2003 CGS - AMROA

who supported amendment 1
Who Supported Amendment 1?
  • 58% Graduate or Professional Education
  • 55% African-American voters
  • 51% Voters with 10 – 20 Years in Alabama
  • 50% Labor Union Members

2003 CGS - AMROA

for a tax initiative to pass 2 of 3 undecided voters must support
For a Tax Initiative to Pass, 2 of 3 Undecided Voters Must Support
  • 17%are likely to support tax increases
  • 34%will probably never support tax increases
  • 49% could be persuaded.

2003 CGS - AMROA

tax reform must be tied to education to succeed
Tax Reform Must Be Tied to Education to Succeed
  • 38% listed improved education as the most critical issue that they supported
  • 11% of all voters were critical that the tax package was not tied solely to education

2003 CGS - AMROA

tax reform must address confidence in government
Tax Reform Must Address Confidence in Government.
  • 31% did not see a need for broad tax change
  • 13% of all voters did not trust government
  • 10% did not understand the package

2003 CGS - AMROA

what should we cut the voters speak first choice
What Should We Cut? – The Voters Speak First Choice
  • 27% Eliminate Waste.
  • 14% Cut government salaries.
  • 12%Throw out the bums.
  • 4% Cut social welfare programs.

2003 CGS - AMROA

where do we find the money the voters speak first choice
Where Do We Find the Money? – The Voters Speak First Choice
  • 25% Lottery
  • 11% Alcohol and Tobacco
  • 9% Property Tax
  • 6% Sales Tax

2003 CGS - AMROA

there is strong opposition to
There is Strong Opposition To:
  • 68% Laying Off Teachers
  • 54% Cutting Aid to Seniors/Children
  • 50% Increasing State Sales Tax

2003 CGS - AMROA

the public strongly supports
The Public Strongly Supports:
  • 73% - Increase in the Tax on Alcohol
  • 64% - Increase in the Tax on Cigarettes and Tobacco
  • 63% - Introduce a Lottery

2003 CGS - AMROA

the public is sharply divided about
The Public is Sharply Divided About:
  • Cutting State Agency Budgets.
  • Ending State Support to the Arts.
  • Ending Support for Private Schools and Universities

2003 CGS - AMROA

lesson learned 1
Lesson Learned 1
  • Alabama voters will not support tax increases if they are not linked to specific programs that people support.

2003 CGS - AMROA

lesson learned 2
Lesson Learned 2
  • Alabama voters may support limited tax increases if linked to education.

2003 CGS - AMROA

lesson learned 3
Lesson Learned 3
  • Alabama voters will not support tax increases without restoration of faith and confidence in Alabama government.

2003 CGS - AMROA

thank you
Thank You

Center for Governmental Services

2236 Haley Center

Auburn University AL 36849-5225

Tel. (334)844-4781 Fax. (334)844-1919

www.auburn.edu/cgs

2003 CGS - AMROA