Today will be a memorable day in the state of Alabama. No longer will Alabama be one of three states that does not have a partial or full reduction of the grocery tax.
Alabama will now join the 47 other states, including our border states of Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, that do not fully tax groceries.
“The Alabama Grocers Association commends Governor Kay Ivey, Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth and the Alabama Legislature for passing this important legislation,” said Ellie Taylor, President/CEO, Alabama Grocers Association. “The 1 percent reduction of the state’s 4 percent grocery tax on September 1 will enable the state to calculate the actual cost for removal of the full grocery tax and help Alabama move forward with its elimination. The AGA has advocated for the removal of our state’s grocery tax for over a decade.”
Daily, grocers witness hardworking Alabamians unable to purchase the food that they need. Despite wages increasing significantly over the last several years, the rising cost of food has outpaced all other household expenses except transportation.
“We fought hard to raise the issue and convince the Legislature to give Alabama families a dinner table tax cut, but our job is not over,” said Will Ainsworth, Lieutenant Governor, State of Alabama. “When another percentage is automatically removed, perhaps as soon as next year, the sales tax on groceries will be cut in half, but I remain committed to removing it altogether and providing Alabamians with permanent tax relief.”
As part of this legislation, the state’s food definition is tied to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which covers all edible foods except alcohol, tobacco, and hot prepared foods. With over 4,850 retailers across the state including grocers, convenience stores, pharmacies, and dollar stores accepting SNAP, the transition at the retail level should be seamless at the point of sale.
“I am very pleased that working Alabamians will begin to see relief at grocery store checkouts around the state on Friday,” said Andrew Jones, Alabama Senator, District 10. “A grocery tax cut has been talked about for decades, but the Alabama Legislature stepped up this year and made it happen through a bipartisan effort resulting in the largest tax cut in state history.”
The tax on groceries is a regressive tax, which disproportionately affects those with lower income. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, 17 percent of adults and 23 percent of children (1 out of 4) face food insecurity or lack of regular access to enough nutritious food for an active, healthy lifestyle. For those low income, elderly, or retired persons with a fixed income, rent or mortgage and medicine are usually covered first, leaving little for the food budget and other flexible expenses. The 1 percent food tax reduction starting on September 1 will be a small first step, and we will continue advocating for the full removal to help all Alabamians.