Guide to the Issues: The 2020 Census and Alabama

While Alabama’s major metropolitan areas continue to experience healthy growth, the state’s population is increasing at a rate that is less than half that of the U.S. as a whole. This poses a problem because the results of the 2020 Census will be used to determine not only a decades-worth of federal government revenue allocations but Alabama’s representation in Congress and voice in the Electoral College as well. Assuming a full count, projections suggest that Alabama, along with New York,…

Infographic: Academic Achievement and State Education Organization

In the United States, public education is largely a state and local responsibility. To govern the state’s education system, states typically charge a Chief State School Officer, often called the State Superintendent, and a State Board of Education with oversight and directing powers. Who serves in these positions, however, is determined in different ways depending on the state in which they serve. Most states operate using one of the four models explained here.

Guide to the Issues: Abortion in Alabama (2019)

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion has been legal in the United States. Even so, a majority of residents in Alabama do not agree with legalized abortion due to the consequences of the procedure physically, emotionally, and mentally for the mother and the immorality of killing a defenseless child. As a state with over 86% of its residents identifying as Christian, fighting to end abortion has become a standard campaign promise for anyone seeking…

State-Run Lotteries: Seeking Solutions, Creating Disaster

The Alabama Policy Institute’s position on the lottery has been well-known and well-publicized throughout the organization’s nearly thirty-year history: a state-run lottery is bad public policy, both fiscally and socially, and it is the wrong solution to address the state’s unsustainable fiscal trajectory. This is not merely a right-versus-left issue, as there are many outspoken opponents and supporters of the lottery on both ends of the political spectrum. Ultimately, this is a right-versus-wrong issue. Lotteries are often marketed as merely a…

A Conservative Approach to the Gas Tax

The Alabama Policy Institute is proud to offer a conservative approach to infrastructure funding that balances the needs of our state with the state's obligation to govern appropriately and wisely.

Guide to the Issues: 2018 Proposed Constitutional Amendments

On Election Day, the people of Alabama will have the chance to cast their votes for a number of federal and state officials. In addition, voters will decide whether several proposed amendments should be added to the Alabama Constitution. Proposed constitutional amendments can be confusing. Voters need an understanding of each amendment to confidently cast their ballots. The purpose of this guide is to explain the statewide constitutional amendments in plain language to help voters make informed decisions.

Private Certification as an Alternative to Occupational Licensing

Evidence from Teacher Quality in North Carolina From the Mercatus Center at George Mason University "Supporters of occupational licensing often argue that the practice has two notable benefits: first, licensing can convey information about the quality of services to consumers, and second, it can raise the earnings of individuals with licenses, encouraging them to develop their human capital. But these benefits of occupational licensing come with steep costs for society, such as restricting employment opportunities for potential workers, reducing choice…

Cutting the Competition?: The Effects of Licensing Barbers in Alabama

This paper, published by the Mackinac Institute, estimates the effects of Alabama’s reintroduction of barbering licensing requirements on the receipts and growth of barber shops in the state. It contains state-level comparisons of barber and beauty shops in Alabama, as well as comparing these Alabama statistics to that of nearby bordering states. In addition, I compare data from Alabama border counties to data from contiguous counties in Georgia and Florida. The results of this analysis show that after barber licensing…

The Costs of Occupational Licensing in Alabama

An occupational license is essentially a government permission slip to do certain work. In Alabama, before one can become a hair braider, cosmetologist, shampooer, massage therapist, auctioneer, pest control worker, and so on, one must first jump through a variety of hoops—attending classes, taking exams, and paying costly initial and recurring fees—mostly set at the state level and throughout the course of one's career. Alabama licenses a total of 151 occupations, covering over 432,000 Alabama workers, which represents over 21…

Guide to the Issues: Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

An education savings account is an individual student bank account, established by state law, which holds some or all of the public funds that would normally be allocated for the education of the participating student. Generally, the student must meet certain qualifications and the parent or guardian of the student must sign a contract with the state promising to use the funds only for approved activities such as private school tuition, textbooks, tutoring, etc. An authority designated by the state…