Alfa plays major role in tax vote

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY-With each poll that is taken the news gets worse for Gov. Bob Riley's tax and accountability package. The most recent, done by the AEA's polling firm, Capitol Research Group, the numbers are grim:
A whopping 50 percent of those polled said they planned to vote against the proposal, only 29 percent indicated they would vote for it.
And once again…as was mentioned in this space a week ago…the people who would actually benefit the most from the plan…the middle and lower income people…are the most outspoken against it.
A few supporters still hold out hope that the trend can be turned around. Noted Alabama historian Dr. Wayne Flynt, speaking to a group in Montgomery a few days ago, said the key could well be black preachers.
The polling thus far shows that blacks are strongly against the plan even though they would be far better off, taxwise, if it passed.
"If the black preachers of Alabama…and they have enormous influence among black voters…will take the lead in the campaign it could turn it around," Flynt said.
Senate Secretary McDowell Lee, speaking at the same program with Dr. Flynt, didn't agree with him. When asked point blank to predict the vote, he didn't hesitate in answering: "60-40 agaisnt."
In a related development, campaign contribution forms released a few days ago underscored the powerful role, financially, the Alabama Farmer's Federation is playing in the effort to defeat the Riley proposal.
The organization's insurance company, ALFA, has contributed $250,000 to the Tax Accountability Coalition which is opposing the amendment and dozens of county Farmer Federation chapters have contributed close to $500,000.
And to add insult to injury, ALFA President Jerry Newby made a personal contribution of $5,000 and a similar amount was made by Newby Farms, his farming operation in Limestone County.
Pryor had been nominated by President Bush to become a member of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the odds of being confirmed by the U. S. Senate are now in the "slim and none" category.
Pryor won approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee by the skin of his teeth, but Democrats in the Senate are not about to let his confirmation come to a vote. It now seems a certainty that Pryor will serve out his term as AG.
Heading the list will be Gov. Bob Riley, who under the provisions of the act creating the Academy, is automatically inducted.
Joining him in the Class of '03 are Don Logan, a Birmingham native who is chairman of AOL Time Warner's Media Group; Dr. Malcolm Portera, Tuscaloosa, chancellor of the University of Alabama; Van Richey, Birmingham, president/CEO of Alabama Cast Iron and Pipe Co. (ACIPCO); and Kathryn Tucker Windham, of Selma, an author and storyteller.
McGowen, who would have been 84 this month, was an outstanding running back at Auburn in the late 1930s and still holds the record for the highest punting average in school history.
After World War II service where he won numerous decorations and was wounded in action, McGowin was an assistant coach under Ralph (Shug) Jordan at Auburn and later was Senior Vice President of ALFA Insurance Co.

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