In 2002, conservative Republican Bob Riley was elected governor of Alabama on a platform of cutting spending and freezing taxes. But within weeks of taking office, Riley proposed a tax reform package which promised to increase the state's tax receipts and reduce its tax code's highly regressive character. The tax reform package was submitted to the voters in September 2003, and rejected by more than a two to one margin. This article examines the electoral politics and geography of Riley's efforts to reform Alabama's tax system including the spatial pattern of voting on the reform package. It finds that Riley's political base of Christian conservatives was substantially responsible for the reform package's defeat. Conversely, those counties providing a majority of their support for the Governor's effort were nearly all substantially African American, and had voted for Riley's opponent in the 2002 gubernatorial election.


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pp. 190-215
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