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Opinion | Democrats want to cut your taxes. A Republican is standing in the way

Bills repealing the overtime tax and the grocery tax are very popular among voters. One man is in the way of their passage.

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When the final week of the 2023 Legislative Session starts later this morning, there will be a bill to repeal the state’s overtime tax on a committee agenda.

That might seem like no big deal, but it is. For a couple of reasons. 

First, many predicted that the bill wouldn’t see the light of day in the Alabama Senate, even after it passed the House with ease. Not because there’s anything wrong with the bill, but because of who sponsored it. 

And that brings us to the second reason: This tax cut – and it’s a huge one and a popular one – is the brainchild of House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels. A Democrat. 

Standing in the way, according to several lawmakers who spoke with APR, is Sen. Arthur Orr. A Republican. 

Weird, right? 

I thought the Republican Party was all about tax cuts and hating all taxes and never meeting a tax they wouldn’t love to cut. 

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But maybe that’s just if the tax cuts benefit the ultra-wealthy. 

This one doesn’t. It’s a tax break for the working folks of Alabama. The real workers. The men and women who put in more than 40 hours per week to bring in a little more for their families. Hospital workers. Factory workers. City employees. Everyone who punches a clock. 

They could get a nice bump – one that wouldn’t cost their employers a dime. 

And those employers, in the height of a labor shortage, could suddenly see a lot more willingness from workers to put in a few more hours, pick up a few extra shifts. 

Businesses love the idea. Workers love it. 

Seems like Arthur Orr is the only one who doesn’t love it. Since he put his foot on its neck and waited until the final three days of session to begrudgingly let it slide onto a committee calendar. 

But that’s not the only tax repeal he’s holding up. 

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Those same lawmakers said Orr is also holding up the grocery tax repeal, reportedly because he’s concerned about the impact the bill could have on the education trust fund. But that doesn’t make much sense, since the cut stipulates that the state can’t make the cuts without a 2 percent increase in the ETF. 

Like the OT tax repeal, this is yet another Democratic idea – to remove the 4 percent state tax on food. Because charging people to eat is just … wrong. And regressive. And dumb. 

And yet, there’s Orr, a Republican, standing in the way. 

Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, despite the rhetoric, it’s been Democratic ideas that have led to pretty much all tax policies that are more palatable for the average worker. These are no different. 

Democrats have been trying to cut the tax on food for 30 years. It’s amazing to watch Republicans act as if they’ve discovered gold as they pile onto supporting this repeal, but oh-so fitting that they’re getting a taste of the mindless, senseless, utter befuddling resistance to the repeal that Dems have so often faced. 

But maybe this is how things work now. 

Democrats have become the business-friendly, tax-cutting adults in the room, while Republicans run wild with bills focused on the latest absurd issue that isn’t actually affecting anyone. 

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The result this session, if Democrats are successful, will be significant increases in the money left over at the end of the month for working families. That’s something that will matter a lot to all of you. 

If a Republican doesn’t screw it all up.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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