United we stand
Guest Column by Linda Tilley
When do liberals like state senator Hank Sanders and conservatives like Attorney General Bill Pryor agree? When the future of Alabama is at stake. Though they come from different parts of the state and have completely different constituencies, Sanders and Pryor have both taken a public stand in favor of Amendment 1.
Sanders and Pryor aren't the only rivals who have come together, actively campaigning for Amendment 1, the Governor's Plan for Progress. Unlike previous issues that have split the state, Amendment 1 has created bonds and formed friendships, as unlikely allies unite in favor of the plan. Never before have so many fundamentally diverse groups join hands to support such a decisive, all encompassing plan.
The organizations supporting Amendment 1 represent a who's who of business leaders, educators, women's groups, civic and non profits, and child advocates. Tax fairness and a deep seeded concern for our state's ailing education system bring together Alabama Power, Junior League, the Alabama Poverty Project, state troopers, social workers, PTA and AEA to support the plan. Even the most feisty Republicans and Democrats have set aside partisan bickering to support the plan.
Why has such a diverse group of Alabamians joined hands to support Amendment 1?
It's simple really. Amendment 1 improves government accountability at the same time it gets Alabama on the road to solvency. It took Governor Riley only three months in office to do the math: if Alabama didn't raise revenues and establish fair tax policies, the state's finances would collapse. And, the Governor recognized the inequities in our current system. "I've spent a lot of time studying the New Testament, and it has three philosophies," Governor Riley told the New York Times. "Love God, love each other, and take care of the least among you. I don't think anyone can justify putting an income tax on someone who makes $4,600 a year."
The Alabama legislature agrees. There were no filibusters, walk-outs, or stalling tactics when our lawmakers created the 19- bill package to rewrite education accountability laws, outlaw backroom legislative pork deals and update the state's tax codes. A new group of REAL Republicans (Republicans for Education Accountability and Leadership)led by former Senator Bill Cabaniss are on the Amendment 1 campaign trail as are Sen. Hank Sanders and his New South Coalition.
Big change is never easy, but in Amendment 1 we finally have the pieces that will do the job. I have faith that this time we will heed the call. We Alabamians are a faithful, religious people, and we know when to do right. Amendment 1 is endorsed by the Baptists, Catholics, Methodists and Episcopalians. The Alabama Baptist Convention, the Alabama West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, The North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Sheppards and Lapsley Presbtery of the Presbyterian Church USA, the Priests of Council of the Birmingham Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Priests of Council of Mobile Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church have all studied the accountability and tax plan and believe it is fair and necessary.
Tuesday September 9 will be a critical moment for Alabamians in the 21st century as voters go to polls and decide on Amendment One. I'll be there to vote yes because it is my responsibility as a parent, taxpayer, and citizen of this great state. Join me and say Yes to Alabama's future, to our future together. Vote Yes on September 9.
Linda Tilly is the executive director of a non profit child advocacy organization. VOICES for Alabama's Children supports Amendment 1.