State Senator Roger Bedford today thanked Business Council of Alabama Governmental Affairs Committee members for successful passage of Taxpayers Bill of Rights II legislation and for blocking efforts to repeal Common Core education standards.
Bedford, speaking at the final Governmental Affairs Committee meeting of the 2014 regular legislative session, said although the session has been productive, there is “a lot of unfinished business to do,” including final passage of both budgets.
Finished business included passage of HB105, the TBOR II bill, signed into law on March 11 by Governor Robert Bentley. The bill updates the original 1992 TBOR legislation.
Hard work by BCA Governmental Affairs Committee members helped pass TBOR II, which creates a Tax Appeals Tribunal independent of the Alabama Department of Revenue.
“Congratulations on finally, finally getting TBOR done, it’s long overdue,” Bedford said. “It’s odd that the state says you owe taxes and you appeal it to the same people who say you owe it.”
Bedford also thanked committee members for helping kill attempts to repeal Alabama College and Career-Ready Standards, or Common Core, that were adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010 and adapted to reflect Alabama standards. The BCA helped lead the charge to defeat legislation allowing Alabama schools to withdraw from Common Core principles.
“Thank for being advocates, thank you for being involved, thank you for making a difference out there,” Bedford said. “We depend on y’all to give us accurate information. You’re an important part that makes Alabama work.”
Bedford noted that another BCA endeavor, Career-Technical education, is “making a difference out there.” He said that students should be exposed to post-high school job opportunities and should begin receiving training for those jobs or more technical education to create job skills.
“Career-tech is making a difference out there,” Bedford said. “The economy we live in, students have to be trained three or four times over their adult life.”
Bedford, D-Russellville, was first elected to the state Senate in 1982. An attorney and small businessman, he owns a lumber company that employs 30 people and a trucking company.
He used his appearance to urge support for Medicaid expansion, saying the federal dollars will be good for Alabama’s economy and could prevent the closure of dozens of rural hospitals and the loss of hundreds of jobs. “It means jobs for Alabama, it’s the biggest economic opportunity that is facing us today,” Bedford said.