MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Governor Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) announced the details of his proposed $700 million tax increase in a press conference Friday.
In all, Gov. Bentley proposed raising taxes in 8 areas.
Corporate Income Tax
– Require combined income reporting for corporations that do business in other states.
Estimated increase in revenue – $20 million
Financial Institution Excise Tax
– Remove the credit that financial institutions receive for sales taxes paid
Estimated increase in revenue – $1 million
Insurance Premium Tax
– Remove the credit for state privilege tax paid by insurance companies
– Remove the credit for ad valorem tax paid by insurance companies
-Remove the office facilities and real property investment credits made by insurance companies
Estimated increase in revenue – $25 million
Public Utilities License Tax
– Remove exemption that applies to municipal utilities
Estimated increase in revenue – $47 million
Individual Income Tax
– Eliminate income tax withholding exemption certificates
– Estimated increase in revenue – $12 million
Sales Tax for Automobiles
– Increase the rate for automobile sales to 4%
Estimated increase in revenue – $200 million
Rental Tax for Automobiles
– Increase the automobile rental tax to 4%
Estimated increase in revenue – $31 million
Cigarette and Tobacco Tax
– Increase the tax to $1.25 per pack (increase of $0.825 per pack)
– Increase tax on other tobacco products proportionately
– Keep wholesalers’ discount the same as current
Estimated increase in revenue – $205 million
Gov. Bentley began his speech by commending the state government for its work over the last four years in “right-sizing” and reforming its operations and budgets. But the Governor ultimately decided conservative, small-government reforms were not enough.
“Over the last few months, I have taken a strategic look at the General Fund,” He said. “Just like Alabama families have to make sacrifices to their operating budgets, we, too, in state government have to do the same.”
Bentley said he believes most Alabama families would not feel the impact of his tax increases, but there appear to be several taxes that could have a direct impact on families in the state.
Any Alabamian buying or renting a car in the state would see the sales tax on that transaction doubled from 2% to 4%. Alabamians who choose to smoke or use other tobacco products would also see those taxes more than doubled. Other taxes the Governor proposed would also raise the price of doing business in Alabama.
The 8 taxes and tax increases proposed would bring in an estimated $541 million in new tax revenue into the state coffers. To fill the rest of the hole, the Governor proposed un-earmarking $187 million in the General Fund budget, using the newly freed funds to address the areas of highest concern first.
While much of the press conference focused on shoring up funds in the General Fund budget, the Governor also proposed using some of the funds from the “education stabilization fund” to strengthen education spending.
“Let me be clear,” the Governor said, “My plan today does not hurt education.”
“I am conservative,” he concluded, “and I believe that there is nothing more conservative than getting Alabama’s fiscal house in order and planning for our future generations.”
Legislative leaders responded with brief statements after Bentley’s remarks.
House Speaker Mike Hubbard said Bentley’s plan will be given “the consideration that it deserves” and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said he and his colleagues will “continue to evaluate” the proposal.
The Alabama Legislature will convene for the 2015 session on Tuesday, March 3rd.
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— Elizabeth BeShears (@LizEBeesh) January 21, 2015