Every state senator co-sponsors bill to cut state grocery tax
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Every single Alabama state senator co-sponsored a new grocery tax bill. The bill would cut the state tax on groceries, and even with all the support, there is still concern.
I’m going to vote for it. I’m a co-sponsor on the one for Andrew Jones, but only because the lieutenant governor asked me for my support himself,” said Senator Merika Coleman, D-Jefferson County.
“I was the 35th. If you look at the list, I was the last one they approached,” said Senator Arthur Orr, R-Limestone County.
With a $2.7-billion surplus in the Education Trust Fund, Senator Andrew Jones, R-Cherokee County, says his legislation is feasible.
The bill lowers the 4% state sales tax to 2% by taking off half a percent each year.
“There has to be 2% positive growth in the education budget for us to take the grocery tax down by half a cent,” said Jones.
“I think we need a longer timeframe to phase it in more slowly,” said Orr.
Jones’ bill does not directly replace the money to the ETF.
“Without that revenue replacement, we still have safeguards in place for education,” he said.
Coleman filed a separate grocery tax bill that decreases state deductions allowed on the federal income tax and uses the revenue to replace the lost funds.
“Make sure that the Education Trust Fund budget continues to grow,” said Coleman.
Coleman and Jone’s grocery tax bill applies to food defined by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), saving families hundreds over time.
“Alabama families pay about $600 a year in the grocery tax alone, and so this will help offset that,” said Akiesha Anderson with Alabama Arise.
Jone’s bill was referred to the Senate Finance and Taxation Education committee for a vote as early as next week.
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