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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
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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