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Last updated 11:21PM ET
March 5, 2021
Alabama
Alabama
Alabama's Poor are Missing Economic Boom
(2008-01-14)
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - An advocacy group for Alabama's poor agrees the state is on an economic roll, but it says too many working poor families aren't enjoying the ride.

The ''Bridging the Gap'' report from Arise Citizens' Policy Project says many working poor families need changes in state educational and tax policies to help them participate in Alabama's growth.

Report author Ron Gilbert says Alabama's economic growth and low unemployment rate are the envy of many states and the report does not detract from that.

But he said Alabama should do more to help families that make less than twice the federal poverty level. That's slightly more than $41,000 for a family of four.

Some of the report's recommendations parallel programs the governor has advocated, including another raise in the threshold where working Alabamians start paying the state income tax and giving tax incentives to small businesses that supply health insurance to their employees.

The report says Alabama should allocate more money for needs-based financial assistance for education. It also calls for more money for adult education programs so that Alabama can have a work force that will attract better paying jobs.

The report says Alabama should actively market training programs to the 500,000 citizens who lack a high school diploma or equivalency degree.

It also says Alabama should provide a dedicated state revenue source for public transportation programs throughout the state, which would help adults get to educational programs and jobs.

Another recommendation is to require new or expanding industries that receive state tax credits to pay wages that are at least equivalent to the prevailing average annual wage in the state or in the area around the industry.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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