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States around the nation are flush with cash because of federal COVID-19 relief dollars and increased tax revenue. At least 32 of those states have enacted either some sort of tax cut or rebate this past year.
So the question is, will Alabama join those other communities around the country which provide some relief to state taxpayers?
For years there have been efforts by some Alabama lawmakers to remove the state sales tax on groceries, but it has gone nowhere. There has been some modest reduction of taxes, but nothing to the scale other states have made.
Idaho just passed legislation to provide one-time rebates to their citizens that will cost the state $500 million, and Missouri is working on a $335 million income tax cut. There is already some talk of small rebates to Alabama taxpayers, but will this actually grow some legs and lead to passage of a bill is a legitimate question.
Bureaucrats and lobbyists in Montgomery will want to reign in any ideas of sending back money to state citizens as they want to continue to grow the size of government to benefit their interest. In addition, there were calls for a suspension of the Alabama gasoline tax, which was raised in 2019 by 10 cents, but it never materialized.
Alabama lawmakers are looking at ways to spend the record budgets they will have to appropriate in the upcoming 2023 legislative session. With inflation, record gas prices and high food cost this past year, Alabama taxpayers should be part of the equation in the distribution of state dollars next year.
Hopefully, Alabama state representatives and senators will have the courage to do their job to put their constituents’ interests first.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives and can be found on Twitter @Paul_DeMarco.