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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • Preuitt gains support for senate leadership
  • Goodyear employees voting
  • Grant for skateboard park denied
  • Taxpayers entitled to refunds

 

Preuitt gains support for senate leadership 

State Sen. Jim Preuitt of Talladega appears positioned to take over the top leadership position in the Alabama Senate.  The Senate's 12 Republicans announced Wednesday they will join with seven Democrats to support Preuitt, for president pro tem of the Senate. Senators will elect their new leader during an organizational session beginning Jan. 9. The support of the Republicans would give Preuitt 19 votes - a majority in the 35-member Senate.  Preuitt, who is entering his fifth term in the Legislature and served the past eight years as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee says he wants to build a stronger state senate.  The current president pro tem of the Senate for the past eight years, Sen. Lowell Barron, of Fyffe, has said he will not seek another term as president pro tem.  Preuitt has been a part of a group of conservative Democrats that had joined with Republicans in recent years to challenge Barron's leadership.  A statement released Wednesday by the membership of the Senate Republican Caucus said they hope new leadership will put an end to partisan bickering that has often slowed action in the upper chamber of the Legislature. An ally of Barron, Sen. Hinton Mitchem, of Albertville, had said he might be interested in the president pro tem position.  Mitchem said Wednesday he has not been actively pursuing the position, but said he still considers the race for president pro tem to be "wide open." Mitchem pointed out that past races for senate leadership positions were not decided until the start of the organizational session.

 


Goodyear employees voting 

Some of the 14,000 striking Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. workers began voting Wednesday on a proposed labor deal reached with the world's third-largest tiremaker while others studied the pact and prepared to vote Today. Dennis Battles, president of the United Steelworkers Local 12 that represents 1,250 employees at the company's Gadsden plant, said initial reaction to the proposed agreement was favorable during union gatherings. The new contract needs to be approved by a majority of the 12 Steelworkers locals covered by the labor pact and a majority of the overall membership. The agreement on a new three-year labor contract was reached Friday. The union had been on strike since Oct. 5.  Goodyear has said it will only discuss details of the tentative deal if it is ratified. However, the plan would allow the tiremaker to close a plant in Tyler, Texas, but not immediately. It provides for a one-year transition period in which the workers will have the opportunity to take advantage of retirement buyouts. The plant employs 1,100 workers who make unprofitable wholesale private label tires. United Steelworkers union members in 10 states, including about 1,400 laid off and inactive workers, were scheduled to vote by Today on the three-year agreement reached last week.

One key issue during the nearly 3-month-old strike had been over a company proposed health care fund for retirees. Goodyear ultimately agreed to put $1 billion into the fund for retired union workers' medical benefits, which was higher than the company's previous $660 million offer but less than the union's call for roughly double that amount.
         

Grant for skateboard park denied 

Plans for a Jacksonville skateboard park suffered a setback this week after the project was rejected for a $25,000  grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation. The grant proposal was submitted on Oct. 1 for a park at the basketball court on Hammett Street. The foundation has announced that they  will not support the effort.

The park is estimated to cost around $43,000. The group has raised more than $18,000. and have vowed to continue their efforts to create a skateboard park in the area.

Taxpayers entitled to refunds 

Alabama Attorney General Troy King says that county revenue officials in Alabama should honor requests for refunds for taxpayers entitled to claim ad valorem tax exemptions going back up to two years, but who failed to receive them.
   King yesterday sent revenue officials a 2002 A-G's opinion saying state law provides a two-year period for refunds of property taxes that were overpaid by mistake.  The law applies for two years after overpayment due to any mistake, including if the taxpayer was not aware and did not request the exemption at the time, King explained.
   An October 25th A-G opinion sent to state Revenue Commissioner G. Thomas Surtees stated that qualifying taxpayers should be given total instead of proportionate ad valorem tax exemption, even if only one of the owners meets the criteria for the exemption.
   King said his office has received many calls from taxpayers who have been denied refunds of property taxes that they mistakenly paid.
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