By Zach Hester, Reporter • firstname.lastname@example.org (Submitted Photo)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — State Senator Andrew Jones (R-Centre) has introduced a proposed constitutional amendment to abolish the state sales tax on groceries.
“The grocery tax is a regressive tax which penalizes hardworking families in Alabama,” said Senator Jones. “At least 38 states and the District of Columbia have full or partial sales tax exemptions for groceries. It is important to me that we eliminate this out-dated tax which disproportionately affects lower-income Alabamians.”
Jones states that his bill, SB 144, would be revenue-neutral, with both the State of Alabama and the State Education Trust Fund neither losing or gaining money from its passage.
According to a 2019 study by Lumatax, Alabama taxes food items, ingredients, and prepared foods at the general state rate of four percent plus any locally applicable rates, which range from one to seven percent. Jones states his bill would cover the loss of sales tax revenue “by capping the federal income tax (FIT) deduction on Alabama state income taxes.” Alabama is one of just six states that allow the deduction.
Under the proposal, individuals would still be able to take a FIT deduction of up to $6,000 and married couples who file jointly would be able to deduct up to $12,000.
“It was important to me to have a revenue-neutral proposal that did not result in a loss to our education budget,” Jones continued. “Grocery sales taxes fund our education budget, as does state income tax. By implementing [a] FIT deduction cap, funding for our education budget remains unchanged.”
Amendments to the Alabama Constitution require a 3/5ths vote of both the House and Senate, before being approved by a majority of Alabama voters on the ballot.