House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) has been a vocal supporter of cutting the state’s grocery tax, proposing an extended tax holiday to assess the effects of such a plan.
Some lawmakers have been reluctant to pass any kind of grocery tax cut, fearing it would mean a loss of revenue for the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget.
Friday, on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Daniels said a grocery tax cut would not necessarily hurt the state’s budget.
“Often times you hear from individuals that talk about the impacts that’s going to have on the Education Trust Fund budget,” Daniels said. “However, when we talk about the savings for families in Alabama and having the ability to spend more money, not necessarily just at the grocery store, but also in other areas, we’re going to recoup that tax revenue anyway.”
The minority leader said an extended tax holiday would be a good compromise with those still not sure about cutting or eliminating the tax.
“I think there’s a happy medium that can be reached because of that fear,” he said. “Like a grocery tax holiday as a four-month long time, so that then you could actually have a real assessment of the impact.”
The lawmaker thinks once lawmakers see the numbers after a tax holiday, they won’t fear the effects of any kind of permanent grocery tax cut.
“If you take June 2023, and at the end of June, you do a grocery tax holiday for the entire month of June and then probably by August 1st have a report done after all the receipts are received, and you look at June 2023,” he said. “Then you look at June 2022, and then you at that point say ‘ok is there a difference in the revenue generated to the Education Trust Fund?’ And I think that when you see that, you’ll see that people are spending money, their using that additional money, and spending in other areas that still benefits the Education Trust Fund.”
He also believes he may be able to convince Republicans to support his plan instead of some of the other ideas being proposed, including a one-time tax rebate.
“I think they would entertain that idea,” he said. “Because, at the end of the day for me, I don’t need a rebate. I do ok, and there are a lot of people like me in the entire state of Alabama, especially in the Legislature. And so I think that for us, you want to make an investment in things that are going to make a difference, and that’s going to help the people of Alabama.”
Daniels said those who are worried about the loss of revenue are just not understanding the full picture.
“I think when we use those arguments, we’re not necessarily digging deep enough to really understand that on the surface that sounds good, but in reality I don’t think that is accurate,” he said.