Alabama lawmakers seek elimination of grocery tax

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 9:02 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Lawmakers are once again trying to remove the state’s tax on groceries. Right now, that tax is 4%, which may seem small but adds up over time.

“We all know that the price of groceries has just gone through the roof lately,” said Carol Gundlach, a policy analyst with Alabama Arise. “The grocery tax is inherently a regressive tax because it taxes the people who can least afford it.”

Grocery tax bills have been introduced during legislative sessions in the past, but failed.

“The issue has never been taking the tax off groceries. The issue has been that taking the tax off groceries is going to pull about $500 million out of the education budget,” said Gundlach.

Rep. Mike Holmes sponsors two versions of this bill in the House, and one of those does not replace what would be removed from the education fund he says that already has enough money.

“I’m not against education. However, throwing more money at it doesn’t seem to have bought us much results. Our product we’re turning out is still the bottom of the 50th,” said Holmes. “We’re at the bottom of the pile, even though we’ve almost doubled what we’re spending on it.”

A similar bill, SB43, sponsored by Sen. Andrew Jones would replace where that money comes from.

“When you went to file your state income taxes, for those who were there taking the FIT deduction, so there would be a cap of $4,000 per individual, or $8,000 per couple or family,” said Jones.

Neither of these bills affects local sales tax, just state. Neither bill has made it to committee.

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