In 2003, former Gov. Bob Riley proposed a tax-reform plan — Amendment 1 — designed both to increase state revenue and to do so fairly.
The people voted it down convincingly, despite broad support from business and religious leaders.
As we face yet another dramatic shortfall in a chronically underfunded state government, it is time to wipe the cobwebs off Riley’s plan.
The amendment slightly raised income taxes on the wealthiest Alabamians and increased the top corporate income tax rate. It ended the regressive state deduction for federal income taxes. It increased property taxes on large farms and timber tracts.
Riley’s plan was not perfect, but it met the goals of increasing revenue and increasing fairness. These goals are more pressing now than ever.