Several tax bills (including grocery tax cut bills) will be discussed this year in the Alabama Legislature. What makes a tax reform bill good for Alabamians? Here are four important factors to keep in mind:
It provides a tax cut for families with low incomes (not just wealthy households).
Alabama’s state sales tax on groceries is a cruel tax on survival. It increases hunger rates, drives struggling families deeper into poverty and adds pressure to household budgets with every trip to the grocery store.
The average Alabama family spends approximately $600 a year on state grocery tax. By reducing or eliminating the state grocery tax, we are taking an important first step toward making it easier for working families to make ends meet.
It protects education revenue to ensure our children’s classrooms are adequately funded in the years to come.
Revenue from Alabama’s individual income tax and sales tax (including the grocery tax) goes to the Education Trust Fund, which supports public education throughout the state.
Lawmakers should ensure their proposals to untax groceries protect funding for public schools while making life better for families across our state. We can and should do both.
It is broad enough to have a meaningful and long-lasting impact.
It is important that any bill to reduce the grocery tax allows SNAP-eligible foods (rather than only WIC-eligible foods) to be untaxed.
If only WIC-eligible foods are untaxed, grocers would have a hard time implementing the bill. Families would be confused when grocery shopping, as relatively few items would be untaxed, while most would not be.
The reduction should be sustainable in the long term, rather than just being a temporary fix.
An ideal grocery tax proposal will do all the things on this list while eliminating the state’s entire 4-cent grocery tax, rather than just a fraction of it.
It provides an immediate grocery tax reduction.
As prices continue to rise on many of the essentials that folks need to survive, families across Alabama are struggling now.
We need to help Alabamians at a time when they need a grocery tax reduction the most, rather than putting it off until future years.