Sen. Taylor speaks at PCRW luncheon

Published 11:32 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013

State Sen. Bryan Taylor spoke at the Pike County Republican Women’s monthly meeting this Wednesday in Troy.

During his talk, Taylor stressed what he believes to be the most important issues to Pike County voters: ethics, the economy and education.

Taylor is uniquely qualified to speak on matters of ethics in the Alabama legislature. He is currently the chairperson of the Committee on Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics, and Elections.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“In the three years that I have been in the Legislature, I can tell you there is a black and white difference between the Legislature then and now,” Taylor said. “I’ve talked to the lifelong employees of the state, and they’ll tell you that this new crop of GOP legislators are focused on getting the policy right and making Alabama a better state.

“The committee just passed a law that made it illegal for lobbyists to lavish legislators with expensive trips and gifts,” Taylor said.

The Alabama Legislature recently gave the Ethics Committee the power of subpoena, which Taylor views as a good development.

“We have the power of subpoena, and I hope we use it more aggressively this next session.”

Taylor also praised the legislature for the progress made by Alabama’s economy.

“When I came in, we had an unemployment rate of about 11 percent,” Taylor said. “It’s now down around six percent. The numbers speak for themselves.”

Taylor did acknowledge, however, that the majority of economic gains have been a result of the private sector.

“The private sector creates jobs. We know that,” Taylor said. “It is the Legislature’s job to make Alabama into an award-winning destination for businesses looking to relocate.”

In each of the past two years, Taylor has introduced the Red Tape Reduction Act, which would provide a one-time tax exemption to small business owners.

“This is a bill that allows small business owners to keep more of what they earn,” Taylor said. “I introduced it twice before. I’m hoping the third time is the charm.”

The last portion of the meeting was devoted to discussing education throughout the state. Of primary concern were the recently passed Accountability Act and the federal Core Curriculum standards.

Taylor explained that the Accountability Act would be beneficial to schools within Pike County. The bill will allow for administrators to receive waivers from the state so that they can utilize innovative education strategies that are not a part of the state’s curriculum. The bill also allows for parents of children in failing school districts to receive a $3500 tax credit to send their child to a higher-achieving school.

“Administrators have proven that, if given the opportunity, leaders will turn their schools around,” Taylor said. “Competition breeds quality. The bill is designed to help caring parents and good kids who are trapped in bad school systems based only on where they live.”

“In the first year of the act, 50 students have moved to private schools, while 700 students have transferred to new public schools,” Taylor said.

Taylor claimed that the Accountability Act will return local control to school boards. “There are currently no failing schools in Pike County,” Taylor said. “Troy will still receive the same amount of funding per student.”

While Taylor supported the Accountability Act, he said that he does not currently support the Common Core Initiative.

“The inception of the Common Core was well intended,” Taylor said. “We want states to have a base level so that kids won’t find themselves losing credits when they move from state to state.”

Taylor went on to say that the program has lost its original purpose.

“Now the federal government is trying to hold us hostage with education dollars,” Taylor said. “Martha Roby introduced a bill to Congress that would prohibit the linking of federal money to education standards.”

Taylor’s main problems with the Common Core Initiative are the standards that the federal government places on the state. In particular, he does not believe that the books recommended by the program are acceptable for the classroom on the grounds of obscenity.

“I don’t want Alabama affiliated with any group that thinks it is appropriate to recommend those types of books in the classroom.”

This statement brought applause from the assembled group.

President of the Pike County Republican Women Ginny Hamm said that having Taylor visit Pike County was a great blessing.

“It gives us the opportunity to give some input,” Hamm said. “It shows that the legislators want to hear from us. It really puts Pike County on the map and shows that our citizens care about our nation.”

Taylor will represent Pike County in the Alabama Senate until 2014 when redistricting takes place.