After an unsuccessful run for Alabama governor, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox is taking what he’s learned and applying it to the city. WVUA 23’s Jabaree Prewitt sat down with Maddox for a discussion on his future plans in this three-part special report.READ THE SERIESPart 1Part 2Part 3Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox’s $250 million Elevate Tuscaloosa Proposal was a long time coming, he said, and it comes with some fixes that are also a long time overdue.“My first action as mayor in 2005 was to apologize to the people of West Tuscaloosa for the neglect they’ve seen for decades,” he said. “It’s been our No. 1 core of believe because West Tuscaloosa didn’t get the investment they deserved over time.”His new plan includes $60 million in West Tuscaloosa investments, including $18 million for the McDonald-Hughes Center. “I’m very proud in our 13 years we’ve made more than $100 million worth of infrastructure investments that certainly made a difference,” he said. “Now we have to put in even more of what I call ‘surface investments’, so that’s why it’s part of the Elevate Tuscaloosa plan.”That plan contains 19 projects throughout the city, and comes with a proposed 1-cent sales tax increase equaling out to about $250 million over the next 10 years.“If we don’t (do this) we’re not going to feel the effect in five years,” Maddox said. “Maybe in 10 years, but most likely 15 years from now we’ll wish we’d have been ahead of the curve instead of reacting to the curve.”Alabama Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa has already filed a bill in the Alabama legislature that requires a referendum before any sales tax increases are enacted in Tuscaloosa County, saying he feels the people of Tuscaloosa County should decide for themselves if they want to pay more taxes. But that move, Maddox said, isn’t stopping him.“Tuscaloosa has one of the highest credit ratings in the state, and the lowest city sales tax,” Maddox said. “We have one of the lowest unemployment rates, one of the highest employment rates. In nearly every measure that you judge a city, we’re in that top category.” Alabama Rep. Chris England is filing a bill in the Alabama legislature that would exempt Tuscaloosa’s portion of the grocery tax if it’s passed.
Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Theresa May is facing a Commons defeat tonight if the hard-Brexiteer backbenchers carry out their threat to vote against her. The vote was supposed to be so easy – merely re-iterating parliament’s support for the Brexit approach voted for on January 29th.That was the Tuesday night when the Commons voted that May should seek alternatives to the backstop. Parliament also voted though, that no-deal should not happen, which is what the hard-Brexiteers don’t want to support. They say taking no-deal off the table would weaken May’s negotiating position but really they’re much less scared of no-deal than they should be.Government defeat would be more symbolic than anything else though. While it would damage May’s chances of getting a better deal with Brussels, those chances were pretty slim anyway. To the public, another defeat would help make the Tory Party look a mess but then the whole of parliament has looked a mess for months and few are following all the twists and turns.Much less likely to defeat the government is Tory Remainer Sarah Wollaston’s cross-party amendment. If voted for, this would make the government hold several binding votes in twelve days time. MPs would vote on May’s deal, no deal, a Norway-style deal and a second referendum. If only one option is chosen by MPs, May must pursue that. If two or more are approved, the question would be put to a public referendum. The motion has five Tory MPs supporting but, even if Labour whipped for it, is unlikely to pass. Other cross-party amendments are Anna Soubry’s, to force the government to publish it’s most recent cabinet briefing on no-deal Brexit, and Ken Clarke’s, to hold indicative votes.Tonight is just a warm-up for the big one though. On February 27, the second Cooper amendment, which is backed by Corbyn and allows for delaying Brexit, will be voted on, and all the Tory Remainers may finally rebel.And the Guardian reports that ten Labour front-benchers are ready to resign too if Corbyn doesn’t support a second referendum on that day. Some may leave the party altogether to form a breakaway group, according to the FT this morning – although we’ve heard that one before. To their credit, the FT reports they’re considering holding a byelection to prove they can win elections. They may prove the opposite though.Peoples’ Voters don’t just come from the breakaway-briefing wing of the party though. This morning, seven left-wing Labour MPs will be speaking at Another Europe is Possible’s ‘Love Socialism, Hate Brexit’ in Parliament.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Tags:Labour Party /Defeat /splits /Brexit /May /ERG /Amendment /Wollaston /Breakaway /Love Socialism Hate Brexit /Soubry /Clarke /