The Alabama Democratic Party is renewing calls for a repeal of the state’s grocery tax.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the party said the “regressive” 4 percent state grocery tax increases food insecurity for Alabama families and causes “a significant financial impact on all Alabama families” in both rural and urban areas.
“Alabama’s grocery tax hurts everyone, but especially lower-income families who have to work harder to put food on the table,” said Marilyn Lands, Democratic nominee for AL House District 10, in a statement released by the Alabama Democratic Party on Wednesday. “While costs rise, we must provide much-needed relief for Alabama’s families by replacing this tax with a fairer and more affordable alternative.”
This reaffirmation of support for repealing the state’s grocery tax comes at a time when inflation and the lasting effects of global supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to push grocery prices upwards into historically high levels.
The latest consumer price index released by the U.S Bureau of Labor shows that food prices increased by 1.31 percent in the month of July, making it the seventh consecutive monthly increase of 0.9 or more, according to the report.
Repeal of the state grocery tax has remained an issue point for many activists and state lawmakers over the last several decades–, with all attempts to reform or remove the state tax failing to materialize in Montgomery. State funds generated by the tax are placed into the state’s Education Trust Fund, all but guarantees the tax will remain until a replacement strategy for the loss in public education funds emerge.
Estimates from state officials place the funds for the Education Trust Fund generated by the state grocery tax at approximately $514 million.
Legislation during the previous legislation by state Senator Andrew Jones, R-Centre, would have placed a cap on paid federal income tax deductions used to decrease state income taxes to offset the revenue loss from the removal of the state grocery tax. Despite bipartisan support in both chambers, the bill failed to reach final enactment.
“Alabama can un-tax groceries and protect education funding at the same time,” said Rep. Dexter Grimsley. “Voters consistently agree that it’s time to cut the grocery tax, and I believe this should not be a partisan issue. Let’s improve the bottom line for Alabama families; let’s end the grocery tax.”
According to a poll released in March by Alabama Arise, almost 60 percent of Alabama residents support legislation to remove the state sales tax on groceries.