Robyn Hyden, executive director of Alabama Arise, said in a statement Friday that the organization is in support of the Senate bill addressing Alabama’s grocery tax.
“Alabama Arise is thrilled to see widespread, bipartisan support from every senator for reducing the state sales tax on groceries,” Hyden said. “We support Sen. Andrew Jones’ legislation and appreciate the leadership that he and Rep. Penni McClammy have shown on this issue. It’s time for lawmakers to seize this opportunity to untax groceries and improve life for every Alabamian.
SB275, sponsored by Sen. Andrew Jones, is co-sponsored by all 35 members of the Senate and would phase the grocery tax down from 4 percent to 2 percent over the next three years. On Sept. 1, the tax would move down to 3.5 percent and continue to phase down by 0.5 percentage points on Nov. 1, 2024, before ending at 2 percent on Nov. 1, 2026.
Alabama Arise is a non-profit organization committed to advancing public policy that improves the lives of impoverished Alabamians. Hyden stated that it is long overdue for the grocery tax to be reduced and finally eliminated. Hyden mentioned the proposed legislation could help alleviate some added pressure families have attempting to make ends meet.
As Hyden mentioned Alabama Arise and its members have advocated for ending the grocery tax for years. In 2019 the organization released a report explaining how the grocery tax was harmful and needed to be removed.
In the statement Hyden also stressed the importance of replacing the grocery tax with a reliable source of revenue due to the Education Trust Fund receiving a portion of their budget from the tax.
Read the full statement here:
Alabama Arise is thrilled to see widespread, bipartisan support from every senator for reducing the state sales tax on groceries. We support Sen. Andrew Jones’ legislation and appreciate the leadership that he and Rep. Penni McClammy have shown on this issue. It’s time for lawmakers to seize this opportunity to untax groceries and improve life for every Alabamian.
“Reducing and ultimately eliminating the state grocery tax would make it easier for families to make ends meet. It would remove Alabama from the shameful list of three states with no tax break on groceries. It also would be an important step toward righting the wrongs of our state’s upside-down tax system.
“Alabamians with low and moderate incomes pay a higher share of their incomes in state and local taxes than the wealthiest households, and high sales taxes – particularly on food – are a major reason why. Quite simply, there are better ways for Alabama to raise revenue than taxing a necessity of life.
“It will be important, however, to ensure any grocery tax cut doesn’t harm our children’s education in the long term. The state grocery tax brings in more than $600 million a year for the Education Trust Fund. That’s about 7% of this year’s total ETF budget, making it a significant funding source for public schools.
“Revenues are likely strong enough for now to reduce the state grocery tax without causing severe harm to education funding. But history tells us that good economic times won’t last forever. Lawmakers should use the coming months to identify and agree to a lasting solution to replace the state grocery tax.
“Arise is open to numerous ideas for replacement revenue. We continue to support Sen. Merika Coleman’s proposal to untax groceries and end the state income tax deduction for federal income tax payments. Alabama is the only state to allow this full deduction, which overwhelmingly benefits wealthy households. Closing this skewed loophole would protect funding for public schools and ensure Alabama can afford to end the state sales tax on groceries forever.
“Alabama Arise members have advocated for decades to end the state grocery tax, and the people of Alabama strongly support this effort. The time for excuses and delays is over. It’s time for our lawmakers to untax groceries.”