By Slade Blackwell
As your state senator, I, along with my legislative colleagues, have the opportunity to make a difference in the state of Alabama. Now, after three years in the legislature, I am proud to see that our hard work is paying off:
- Area Development Magazine recently ranked Alabama fourth in best states to do business.
- Our record $19.5 billion in exports is a 9.36 percent increase since 2011.
- Unemployment is down to 7.1 percent (national average is 7.8 percent).
While I am proud of what we have accomplished, there is always more we can do to advance, and the 2013 legislative session is a great place to start. After a busy first month in session, we have already passed bills that will make government more efficient, help businesses, recruit jobs and save taxpayers money.
A few of the bills that the legislature has passed thus far include:
- ATF Payback: After a vote of the people Sept
. 18, money will now be taken out of the Alabama Trust Fund to prop up the state general fund. The bill to payback the $437.4 million was the first bill passed in the legislature this year.
- Public Safety Consolidation: This bill consolidates all the 20 public safety agencies in the state down to seven. The consolidation and streamlining of these agencies will end up saving the state an estimated $26 million to $30 million per year.
- Alabama Accountability Act: This bill will provide tax credits for families with students in consistently failing schools to attend a non-failing public or private school. It also provides waivers of state policies to school boards.
My senate colleagues and I have been working hard to ensure that we are passing smart, meaningful legislation that will move Alabama forward. A few items to look for in the coming weeks of the legislative session: Common Core Standards, historic tax credits and 2nd Amendment protection. Whether it is with business, education, economic development or other issues, we must continue to work together to do what is best for Trussville and the state. As always, please do not hesitate to call me if you ever need anything.
Slade Blackwell is serving his first term in the Alabama State Senate representing Jefferson and Shelby Counties in District 15. For more information about Slade, visit www.sladeblackwell.com or follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @sladeblackwell. To reach him by phone, call 205.396.1144.