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Alabama Free Market Alliance launches online petition to stop Bentley tax hike

Gov. Bentley signing bills in his office (Photo: Office of the Governor)
Gov. Bentley signing bills in his office (Photo: Office of the Governor)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Former state senator Scott Beason is no longer in the legislature, but his latest move proves he’s far from out of the fight.

Beason and the Alabama Free Market Alliance, where he is now senior policy advisor, on Wednesday launched a petition at BentleyTaxHike.com calling on Alabamians to hold Governor Bentley accountable to the “no new taxes” promises he made during the 2014 campaign.

“One of the things I’m starting on right off the bat is working against taxes,” Beason told Yellowhammer Wednesday. “AFMA is a low tax, low regulation, pro-economic growth group and we want to help people understand economic issues and how they affect them.”

Beason was unimpressed by the Governor’s characterization of his $541 million tax increase as a “bold” plan for state government.

“Bold leadership, in my mind, would be to un-earmark the budgets, to go to one budget, and let this new legislature prioritize spending,” Beason said. “Straightening out 140 years of state government debacles is very difficult, I understand that. It’s very difficult if a whole department has to go away because it’s not part of the proper role of government.”

During his time in the state legislature, Beason was no stranger to fighting tax hikes. In 2011, then-Senator Beason blocked Jefferson County from passing an amendment to the state constitution re-establishing an occupational tax.

“They told me it was going to shut down the county government, but I just went and got my tag renewed last week and they’re still alive and kicking,” Beason said Wednesday.

(More after the photo)

Scott Beason discusses his plans for life after the Alabama senate in the Yellowhammer News offices (Photo: Yellowhammer)
Scott Beason discusses his plans for life after the Alabama senate in the Yellowhammer News offices (Photo: Yellowhammer)

As policy advisor with AFMA, Beason’s sights aren’t only set on what’s happening on the state level.

“There are so many things coming down from the federal government, regulations on business are growing every day,” he said. “The fact that every business owner probably violates some federal law or regulation every day because they don’t even know it exists is ridiculous.”

Between EPA regulations and other increased regulatory burdens on business owners, Beason warns that what happens at the federal level won’t only make life more difficult and expensive for business owners, it will have a significant impact on consumers, too.

“These things are a real risk. It’s not just causing the utility company to pay more, it’s causing you and I to pay more. Even though the federal government thinks it can hide it in your power bill, it’s still a tax increase.”

In 2013, Yellowhammer named AFMA one of its top 5 conservative groups in the state.

AFMA Chairman Paul Reynolds is also Alabama’s National Committeeman on the Republican National Committee.

Back here at home, Reynold’s group fills a void for Alabama conservatives looking for content online, especially on Facebook where the group has over 13,000 “likes” and posts a steady stream of infographics and articles.

Article titles that will give you a sense of what to expect from AFMA include, “ObamaCare regulations are 8 times longer than the Bible,” “Attention Alabama AARP: stop pushing Obama’s environmental agenda,” and “Stop promoting ObamaCare in Alabama’s schools.”

AFMA publishes a “Watch List,” that is somewhat of a counter to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate list.” Groups who made the AFMA Watch List include the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Alabama Association for Justice, Alabama Arise and the Alabama Environmental Council.

Beason plans on working with AFMA to make Alabama a more business-friendly and economically free state. He envisions making economic policy so easily understood that it becomes a part of every day conversations.

But his first undertaking is getting as many people as possible to sign the BentleyTaxHike.com petition.

“That’s how you build a society that’s plugged in and knows what’s going on.”

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