Signs lining streets in Livingston tell the story. Response is mixed to Gov. Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax increase proposal. Projected to take five years to fully implement, polls show support for the plan is lagging.
"It's in trouble because you can take a big plan and this is a big plan. It's about accountability and it's about finance. You can take parts of it and make any part of it look bad."
Dr. Mark Griffith is a Political Science professor at the University of West Alabama. He says while the plan relies heavily on property and income tax increases, it gives families that earn less than $40,000 a year tax breaks.
In fact, he says while two-thirds of the people in Alabama will pay less in taxes, one-third of the residents who earn the highest wages will pay more. Although he admits that there are parts of the plan he does not necessarily like, Dr. Griffith says with guarantees to help substantially boost education long-term, and wipe out what the governor calls the state's biggest projected deficit since the depression, overall he says the plan will help.
"There are a lot of people who have questions with things like the tax on services. They're hearing that they're going to get their oil change taxed. What they don't see is the big picture. Some of the benefits they'll get, some of the lower taxes they'll pay will actually mitigate that for most people. I'm optimistic for the opportunity. However, I'm pessimistic that the plan will pass."
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