The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 26, 2013

Alabama grocery tax repeal likely dead again

(Continued)

Dial's bill drew opposition from Alabama Arise.

"It's amazing to me that people who are supposed to be helping the poor are working against my bill," Dial said.

Carnes said Dial's bill maintained the regressive nature of the sales tax, and many non-food items are essential purchases for people.

Alabama Arise favored Knight's bill. It would keep the state sales tax on non-food purchases at 4 percent. It would replace the revenue from groceries by repealing the state income tax deduction that Alabama gives for federal taxes paid. That would not affect many low-income Alabamians, but would require higher earners to pay more state taxes.

Knight tried repeatedly to pass his bill when Democrats controlled the Legislature, but never succeeded. He reintroduced his bill this session, but he couldn't get it considered by a Republican-dominated committee.

Dial said it will never pass now that Republicans are in control. "No Republican Legislature is going to pass that because that is a direct tax on the people," he said.

Carnes said Alabama Arise was disappointed that Knight's bill didn't move again. "But we are happy that what we consider a bad solution didn't move also."

Dial said he will be back with his bill in the 2014 session, when legislators will be standing for election.

"It is great politics for an election. When people ask what you have done for them, you can say, 'I took the tax off food for you,'" Dial said.

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