Senate Majority Leader Reed Addresses BCA Committee

Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed today updated Business Council of Alabama Governmental Affairs Committee members on education curriculum standards, state budgets, proposed taxes, and the remainder of the 2015 legislative session.

Reed, R-Jasper, as Senate Majority Leader, acts as the focal point for Republicans in the Senate and as the liaison with the minority Democratic Party and its leader, Senate Minority Leader Quinton Ross, D-Montgomery. Ross had been scheduled to address the committee but had a scheduling conflict.

Reed is one of 11 co-sponsors of SB 101 by Sen. Rusty Glover, R-Semmes, a bill that would repeal the Alabama College and Career-Ready Standards.

Efforts to repeal Alabama College and Career-Ready Standards failed in House and Senate committees last year following objections by the BCA and the state’s education establishment. 

SB 101 is the subject of a Wednesday public hearing by the Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee. “It will be interesting to see where this goes, how much support there is for it,” Reed said.

BCA President and CEO William J. Canary plans to testify at the public hearing scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. in the State House.

Glover’s bill would override the state school board’s adoption of College and Career-Ready Standards for math and English language and allow curriculum to be based on politics rather than on a sound system of study that prepares students to compete.

The Business Council of Alabama opposes any attempt to repeal high academic standards that have been prepared by Alabamians for Alabamians to ensure that high school graduates are ready for college and careers. The standards are based on evidence and research conducted by the most successful school systems worldwide.

Legislative overreach to set school curriculum bypasses the expertise of the Alabama State Department of Education and the purpose of an elected school board that sets policy based on sound principles and advice.

On budgets, Reed became the second speaker at the weekly Governmental Affairs Committee meetings to warn that cuts in General Fund agencies are a real possibility if Governor Robert Bentley’s proposed $541 million tax increase package does not pass.

Reed said Bentley as the state’s chief executive did what he had to do in proposing financial support for the ailing General Fund. As for the tax package, Reed said, “I don’t see a lot of support for that.”

The Education Trust Fund budget for next fiscal year is in much better shape than the General Fund budget, which does not receive growth taxes as does the ETF.

Reed said a philosophical debate the remainder of the session will be about how much taxpayer’s money should be in any budget savings account for future use and how much should be appropriated for current needs.

The BCA’s Tuesday morning briefings are held each week during the legislative session and feature legislative and administration officials who discuss topics of interest to Alabama’s business community.

-Dana Beyerle

Sen. Reed also sat down with Dana Beyerle and Leah Garner to answer a couple of question for the Business Council of Alabama’s Two Minute Tuesdays.