Democrats in the Alabama House of Representatives announced their agenda for the upcoming year Tuesday.
The plan includes a package of bills Democrats say will create jobs, close corporate tax loopholes, repeal the grocery tax, limit the size of classes in public schools, and give teachers and other education workers a pay raise for the first time in nearly five years.
"Democrats are committed to fighting for Alabama's families, and the legislation we will be introducing in 2012 shows the difference between our priorities and the Republicans' priorities," said House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden).
House Democrats, who for the first time in over a century are the minority party, said Republicans had failed to keep their promise to bring more jobs to Alabama.
"Last year, the Republicans campaigned on a promise to create new jobs and expand business in Alabama," said Representative Joe Hubbard (D-Montgomery). "Instead, what we got was an unemployment rate that hit 10% for the first time since the height of the recession, and an increase of more than 21,000 unemployed Alabamians."
"After this past legislative session, it's clear where the Democrats' priorities are versus where the Republicans' priorities are," concluded Ford. "The legislation Democrats will introduce in next year's session will bring relief to Alabama's working families and will set our state back on the right course."
Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) said he was flattered by the Democrats' proposals. His office released this statement later in the day:
"It's awful flattering that their two 'jobs' proposals are copies of existing Republican proposals. In the coming weeks, the Republican leadership will be introducing a real agenda aimed at jumpstarting job growth, improving our schools through education reform, and making government more efficient. However, unlike the Democrats, our proposals will not include job-killing tax hikes on Alabama businesses and families."