Richey to spend summer with the constitution

By Staff
Jason Cannon, Franklin County Times
While many of his collegiate classmates are working part-time jobs or returning home to be with friends, Russellville High School graduate Art Richey will be campaigning for change this summer.
Richey, currently a sophomore at Birmingham Southern, was among nine students selected by the Hess Center for Leadership and Service at Birmingham-Southern as Hess Center Fellows.
The students will spend eight weeks this summer working with local and state organizations on various advocacy issues including constitutional reform, empowering women, the environment and federal hunger legislation.
They will also participate in pre-internship seminars and give presentations to the college community next fall.
Richey, a political science and economics major, will spend the next eight weeks as an intern with Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform (ACCR).
"Ever since I was little, my dad has always kept me civicly engaged," he said. "For as long as I can remember I've been interested in politics and government."
Richey's role with ACCR will be to join the Tuscaloosa-based grass-roots effort that is designed to raise awareness about the flaws in the current constitution and how those flaws might be corrected with a re-write.
Richey listed local government structure and taxation as two problems he saw with the current constitution.
"For example, under the current system, if Franklin County wants a one-cent sales tax, it has to go to Montgomery and then to a statewide vote," he said. "Most voters, or the ones that don't live in Franklin County, don't care what happens with taxes here, but a lot of people see the word tax and vote no."
Such a method, Richey said, distorts the will of the people as it pertains to Franklin County.
Also, Richey said he's like to see the state more evenly distribute it's tax base before it's too late.
"Alabama relies heavily on sales tax," he said. "Most political experts agree that a state should have a fair balance of property tax, sales tax and income tax, but Alabama has very low property taxes."
Art is the son of Benjamin and Mary Richey.

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