Mike on the Issues
I am proud to represent the residents of House District 31. Here are some of the issues I have been working on in Montgomery this session.
The 2018 Alabama state Legislative session is now history, and our primary job was successfully completed… passing balanced budgets for both Education and the General Fund. Teachers and school staff got a raise (+2.5%) included in the $6.6bil Education Trust Fund budget, and all other popular education programs were fully funded at the minimum. The General Fund budget increased from $1.8bil to $2.0bil in Corrections (DOC) receiving an increase of $85mil to cover increased spending on Mental Health treatment for inmates. This was required to fund the settlement of the Southern Poverty Law Center vs AL Dept. of Corrections lawsuit ordering specified personnel and facilities improvements. This budget marks the end of the “one time money” from the BP oil spill settlement that we have used for the past 2 years to help us balance the GF budget.
I’ve spent lots of time with constituents since adjournment, and the conversations on State government center on four major topics.
In spite of near-record spending on public education our test results show Alabama ranking at or near the bottom. A high percentage of my Constituents want to see more competition in our schools, and increased accountability for our actual resulting test scores. And most want to see continued expansion of our Technical and Vocational education capabilities to prep our graduates to fill the booming demand from our growing manufacturing sector who need these highly skilled workers for the jobs of the future.
After seeing the forced resignations of our Governor, our Speaker of the House, and three additional House members, you expect us to continue to attack corruption from the top down in State government.I was one of only 23 House members with the courage to sign the House Resolution to impeach Governor Bentley.I then served on the Judiciary committee that investigated the evidence and found cause to impeach forcing Bentley to resign.Part of my continuing effort against State corruption will be to push for a tightening of ethics rules and definitions in our ethics statutes and passing legislation for comprehensive ethics reform.
My voters have asked me to continue to push for major tax reform for Alabama. Bills for Alabama are already drafted and ready to pre-file after the November election when the new legislature is sworn in. These two tax reform bills would eliminate our State income tax and replace the revenue with slightly higher consumption based tax (sales tax), and allow you to keep more of your paychecks.
County and State highways and bridges (infrastructure):It is no secret that we have fallen way behind on maintenance, repairs and improvements in our counties, cities, and our State roads and bridges. You have indicated that you are open to considering cooperation with any Trump federal infrastructure program that he is able to enact. There is an interesting idea circulating among a very conservative group of interested parties that calls for a “pay as you go” plan to address prioritized needs in their order that would prevent us from taking on massive bond debt to finance our road and bridge needs. I will continue to be a part of this brainstorming group and keep you informed on any updates.
In the coming days & weeks I will be out and about in House District 31 at events, community service clubs, meetings and door knocking, all aimed at allowing me as many conversations with D-31 constituents as possible. I want to hear your feedback, suggestions and even complaints. I need your help: Volunteering, contributions, moral support, encouragement and prayers. I’m running for re-election on my successful record in the House, and my broad based experience in both the private sector and State government. I feel that I am the RIGHT candidate with the RIGHT experience and knowledge for the Alabama State House, District-31!