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Hartselle Enquirer

Alabama’s covenant for the future

By Staff
Rep.Ronald Grantland, Guest Columnist
Alabama’s covenant for the future
The Covenant for the Future is a platform unveiled by Alabama Democrats last week. It is a promise to the people that Alabama Democrats are going to work together now and in the future to resolve tough challenges facing our state.
The Covenant pledges us to provide tax relief to Alabama families and take important steps to strengthen our schools. We promise to tackle emerging issues like illegal immigration and the security of our ports. And we are going to continue the Democratic progress on things like growing the automotive industry, and building quality jobs for Alabama families.
Time and time again, some in Montgomery have said that efforts like this aren’t possible. While they criticize, we get results. That’s what leaders do.
Democrats have kept Alabama’s taxes the lowest in the nation, when some said we have to raise taxes. Some said we couldn’t provide income tax relief to Alabama families, but we insisted on increasing deductions for children while lowering income taxes on working people. The
result is that working people are keeping more of their paychecks, as they should.
Some said Alabama couldn’t afford to invest more in our schools. But under Democrats, the Alabama Legislature passed budgets that have invested $800 million more in our children’s schools in the past four years. Reading scores are up, drop-out rates are down. There is more to be done, but we are on the right road with our schools.
They said we couldn’t create the biggest road and bridge program in state history, but we did. Today, roads and bridges across Alabama, including many in this community, have been repaired or are being repaired through the work of Democratic lawmakers.
Standing together, leaders of the House and Senate pledged to pass important new laws in the next legislative session. Among the proposals is a plan to eliminate the state sales tax on food, further reducing the tax burden on all Alabama families. There is a plan to return property tax reappraisals to a four-year cycle, instead of every year.
Democrats plan in the next legislative session to stem the spread of illegal immigration in Alabama, requiring foreign workers to possess a work permit from the state that certifies that they are here legally, as they should be. We will provide greater transparency in state government by eliminating PAC to PAC transfers and requiring lobbyists to publicly report every penny they spend on public officials.
There is a plan to move Alabama toward less dependence on foreign oil by creating tax incentives for companies to invest in alternative energy. We protect our children’s schools by stopping education funding from being diverted to non-education projects.
Democrats believe, and I believe, that Alabama’s laws should reflect Alabama’s values. That’s why we have a plan to defend the institution of marriage and to allow public school children the option of learning about the Bible in school. We believe that all life is sacred and we will pass laws that affirm that. We believe that our children need greater protection from predators who roam the Internet, and we are working to strengthen child protection laws.
In the coming weeks, you are going to hear a lot more about the Democratic platform for Alabama. You will hear more about our plans to invest in schools and new jobs, to pass important tax relief for Alabama families, and to restore the public’s confidence in government. These are our priorities and our plans for the future. We fully intend on seeing them become law.
I am going to do everything in my power to turn this platform into reality. In past years, Democrats have accomplished a great deal for the people of this community, and this state, but it is time to write a new chapter in our state’s history. As always, I look forward to hearing from you on these issues and others.