Alabama taxpayers are fighting back against millions of dollars in new tax hikes proposed by Gov. Robert Bentley.
As senior policy advisor for the Alabama Free Market Alliance, former state Sen. Scott Beason leads the charge with BentleyTaxHike.com. The website has a petition calling to hold the governor accountable on his 2014 campaign promise of “no new taxes.”
“One of the things I’m starting on right off the bat is working against taxes,” the Gardendale Republican told reporter Elizabeth Beshears. “AFMA is a low tax, low regulation, pro-economic growth group and we want to help people understand economic issues and how they affect them.”
Beason was not impressed with Bentley’s description of his suggested $541 million tax increase plan as “bold.”
“Bold leadership,” he said, “would be to un-earmark the budgets, to go to one budget, and let this new legislature prioritize spending. … Straightening out 140 years of state government debacles is very difficult. I understand that.
“It’s very difficult if a whole department has to go away because it’s not part of the proper role of government.”
While in office, Beason developed a reputation for vocal opposition to new taxes. At the time, Sen. Beason prevented Jefferson County from amending the state constitution to revive occupational taxes.
“They told me it was going to shut down the county government, but I just went and got my tag renewed last week and they’re still alive and kicking,” Beason told Beshears.
At AFMA, Beason has a chance to take on larger issues.
With so many troubles from the federal government, he said, new business regulations are coming every day.
“Every business owner probably violates some federal law or regulation every day,” he added, “because they don’t even know it exists is ridiculous.”
With increasing regulatory burdens, such as excess EPA regulations on business owners, Beason believes life for business owners has become both difficult and expensive, and will take its toll on consumers.
“These things are a real risk,” he warns. Utility companies will pay more, leading to higher rates for customers.
“Even though the federal government thinks it can hide it in your power bill,” Beason added. “It’s still a tax increase.”
Yellowhammer named AFMA one of the state’s top five conservative groups in 2013. AFMA Chair Paul Reynolds also serves as National Committeeman for Alabama on the Republican National Committee.