After all these years, how can Alabama continue to impose a sales tax on groceries?
Earlier this week, a state charity that advocates for the state’s poorest residents, Alabama Arise, reignited a decades-old campaign to reduce grocery store sales taxes.
This time around, the campaign may have a higher chance of succeeding because of rising inflation and public anxiety over the rising cost of petrol and consumer goods.
That’s what it should be. A regressive tax is one that disproportionately affects those who can least afford it.
Sales taxes on groceries, which every Alabamian must purchase in order to subsist, are particularly onerous. Indeed, 47 states have no sales tax on goods. Among them, ours is not one of them.
Alabama legislators have a sensible piece of legislation before them that would allow them to deal with this issue in a timely manner.
The state sales tax on food would be eliminated under legislation proposed in both the House and Senate, and the revenue would be replaced by lowering the federal income tax deduction maximum from $10,000 to $4,000, saving money for everyone but the top 5 percent of earnings.
It’s a no-brainer for politicians, who should also be proposing a three-month suspension of gasoline taxes in order to counteract rising fuel prices and appeal to local governments to do the same.
If for no other reason than to enhance the reputations of those who will not be re-elected, lawmakers should pass this legislation as soon as possible.