Montgomery State Senate District 29 candidate George Flowers on Monday added his endorsement to the 2010 Republican Handshake with Alabama, an agenda of specific, issue-oriented bills that GOP legislators will make a priority of passing if given a majority in one or both chambers of the Legislature. Democrats have held control of the Alabama Legislature for each of the past 136 years.
From job creation to ending corruption to blocking the Washington, D.C. power grab, the Republican Handshake with Alabama embraces the issues that matter most to Wiregrass voters, Flowers said. I strongly support this agenda and look forward to serving with a Republican majority as we work to improve economic development and implement the needed conservative reforms that Democrats and Montgomery insiders have blocked for far too long.
The first-time candidate noted that the top item on the Republican agenda calls for incentives and other programs that encourage job creation and economic expansion, a priority that Flowers highlighted and embraced from the first day of his candidacy.
Its no secret that the politicians in Montgomery have failed us and our area is hurting for jobs. We all know families that are suffering and friends who are looking for work, Flowers said. That is why I often say my top three priorities are jobs, jobs and jobs, and the Republican agenda recognizes that same priority, as well. A Republican House and Senate will get the Wiregrass working once again.
Among the goals and specific agenda items included in the Republican Handshake, which was unveiled Monday morning, are:
Creating Jobs and Economic Opportunities Alabama Republicans understand that creating jobs and putting our state on the right economic track is our top priority, and we are prepared to implement proven, conservative incentives and pro-business reforms to accomplish that goal.
We will work with the administration to build upon and expand the job-creation tax incentives that our gubernatorial nominee, Dr. Robert Bentley, successfully passed during the last legislative session. Those incentives will be targeted to both new and existing businesses alike.
In order to provide more capital needed to add new jobs Republicans will also push to expand the small business health insurance tax credit from 150% to 200% of the amount that both employers and employees pay for coverage premiums.
Similarly, the Bentley plan to create a cabinet-level Office of Small Business Creation and Development has been embraced by Republican legislative candidates who will work to dedicate the resources needed for its success. The office will be tasked with reducing regulations and red tape, unifying small-business orientated state programs under one roof and advocating on behalf of both new and existing small businesses.
We will fight to ensure that Alabama remains a right-to-work state in order to keep employment costs low and demand legislation that protects the right to a secret ballot in union elections so that no worker may be harassed or intimidated for voting his or her heart and conscience.
A Republican Legislature will work to put roadblocks in the way of the job-killing Cap and Tax legislation being pushed by liberal Congressional Democrats. If passed, such legislation will cause energy costs in Alabama to skyrocket and crash our economy. Businesses from our largest industrial employers to our smallest mom-and-pop operations rely upon affordable energy costs to keep doors open and workers employed in Alabama.
Controlling Wasteful Spending Many of our national economic problems have been caused by a Democrat Congress and liberal president who are spending like drunken sailors. Alabama Republicans want to prevent that from happening on the state level. Our Legislature has traditionally budgeted based on political convenience and unsustainable revenue estimates. When those estimates prove too conservative for the Democrats tastes, they simply increase them to accommodate additional spending. The result is devastating proration.
Alabama Republicans believe that the Legislature, like families and individuals across the state, should live within its means, and we propose passage of the Responsible Budgeting and Spending Act. Under this bill, state revenue estimates would be based upon a 15-year rolling average rather than unsupported projections, which will rein in spending and allow the budgets to more easily absorb changes in a cyclical economy.
Ending Corruption in Montgomery Democrats have held the majority in Montgomery for 136 years, and during that time, they created an atmosphere that breeds corruption and encourages graft. The recent criminal convictions of numerous Democrat legislators and other Democrat officials provide ample evidence of that fact.
Republicans understand that we must limit the influence of special interests and other lobbyists who control much of what happens in Montgomery. Under existing law, lobbyists are allowed to spend up to $250 a day on each public official without having to file an ethics report. A Republican majority will introduce legislation to require all spending by lobbyists is reported even down to a cup of coffee.
Alabama is one of only three states that do not provide subpoena power to its ethics watchdog agency, which makes it easy for public officials and others to hamstring investigations. Republicans not only support subpoena power for the Alabama Ethics Commission, they want to provide the agency with a statutorily defined level of appropriation that can be cut only by a two-thirds vote of both houses. That way, no legislator can retaliate against the agency and its work by cutting its annual budget.
Too many legislators and other public officials have been caught double-dipping or holding questionable contracts with government agencies and those wishing to do business with the state. Republicans will work to ban double-dipping and require public officials and their spouses to disclose any contracts they hold with government entities.
Combating Illegal Immigration Because illegal immigration threatens our homeland security, reduces the quality of life for taxpaying citizens and places our schools, hospitals and other resources under tremendous burden, Alabama Republicans believe we must take immediate action. Politicians in Washington refuse to act, so we must bring the fight to the home front.
A Republican legislative majority will push an illegal immigration bill similar to the recently approved Arizona law. The Alabama bill will create a new state criminal trespass statute that allows local law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants for simply setting foot in Alabama. Another provision will make it a crime to provide an illegal immigrant transportation anywhere in Alabama, whether it is a trip across the state or simply to the corner store.
Proof of citizenship or legal residency in order to access government services will also be required, and, because illegal immigrants and their allies are working to gather political power and influence, any illegal immigrant who registers to vote, or attempts to, or casts a ballot will be convicted of a Class C felony as will anyone aiding in those efforts.
Blocking the Washington, D.C. Power Grab Many rights and freedoms previously reserved to the states and to individuals are under an unprecedented attack from D.C. liberals, and Alabama Republicans are prepared to take strong actions to repel their assault. It is important that the voices of the frustrated majority of Alabamians be heard, especially in the area of socialized health care programs recently implemented against our wishes by Obama and his allies.
An Alabama House and Senate controlled by Republicans will immediately introduce and work to pass a constitutional amendment that would prohibit any person, employer or health care provider from being compelled to participate in any health care system. This amendment would be similar to measures introduced or passed in at least 30 other state legislatures across the country, and it is believed that such state amendments will assist in court cases questioning federal authority to force citizens to purchase something they do not wish to purchase, a mandate never previously forced on the populace.