Income Tax, Rental Laws Take Effect Jan. 1

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - On New Year's Day, Alabama will shed its
reputation for being the only state that levied income taxes on a
family of four making less than ten-grand a year.

The income tax cut was approved by the Legislature in April and takes effect Monday. The 60 million dollar tax cut will raise the threshold where a family of four starts paying income taxes from 46-hundred dollar annually to $12,500.

Governor Bob Riley, who recommended the change, said 2007 will mark an end to Alabama having "the nation's most unfair tax system." The state Revenue Department estimates that 60 percent of Alabama's taxpayers will benefit from the new law and the filing of 119,000 Alabama tax returns will be eliminated.

Also taking effect Monday is a new law that spells out the rights of landlords and tenants. It was approved by the Legislature in March and affects 500,000 rental houses and apartments throughout the state.

The law requires landlords to provide safe, habitable housing, and it allows the landlords to evict bad tenants quicker than in the past.

The governor said he's not through. When the Legislature meets for its next regular session in March, Riley said he will try to expand the income tax cut to cover more middle-class families.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)