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August 28, 2003   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
August 28, 2003

A group of Troy State University students opposed to the tax were interviewed by reporters following the pro-tax rally at TSU on Tuesday. Students who wanted to carry "SAY NO" signs into the rally were told by university police that they would be removed from the rally if their signs were not taken outside. Students said the rally was unfair because it only presented the pro-tax side of the issue. No one at the rally spoke against the tax.
The two co-chairmen of the Tax Accountability Coalition recently toured the state warning voters that proponents of Gov. Riley's $1.2 billion tax hike are saying and doing anything to get the tax increase passed.

"Tax hike proponents are desperate, and they are showing they will say or do anything to get this $1.2 billion tax hike passed," said Roger McConnell, co-chairman of the Tax Accountability Coalition. "They have shown they will change their story, use their millions of dollars to scare and confuse voters, and even turn school classrooms into campaign offices if it gets them the billion dollars."

This week, a rally was held on the campus of Troy State University where only supporters of the tax were allowed to participate in the program. Several students who attempted to carry "Say NO" signs into the meeting were threatened with arrest.

Eight high school bands were bussed to the TSU event as well as seniors from area high schools and even one eighth-grade class. Propaganda is being spread in elementary and high schools throughout the state.

McConnell presented documents being distributed by school officials, including a memo on how to organize schools to generate support for the tax increase -- a departure from past statements from education officials saying they were only educating voters and therefore not violating any laws.

The state-sponsored materials included a speech school principals have been asked to give to parents on the eve of the tax vote, in which they compare the defeat of the referendum to the Sept. 11 World Trade Center tragedy.

Tax opponents who claim such activity by school officials is illegal, point to Alabama law which states "No person in the employment of the State of Alabama, a county, or a city whether classified or unclassified, shall use any state, county, or city funds, property or time, for any political activities." The law states that such activity is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and two years in prison.

"Their version of truth changes constantly," said TAC Co-chairman Charles Bishop. "First they asked people to do the right thing and pay more in taxes. Then, when they fall 20-points behind they change their story to say we'll pay less in taxes. When the Birmingham News runs a poll saying their best selling point is the college scholarship program, Gov. Riley starts saying the scholarship plan is the centerpiece of his tax increase."

"But as soon as that becomes their new argument, the Birmingham News reveals that not a single scholarship is guaranteed," Bishop said, holding up a front page headline from the Birmingham News revealing that not a single scholarship is guaranteed in the tax increase.

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