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Orr: Hard choices to make on tax cuts

There are several pieces of legislation being proposed that would cut taxes in Alabama.

State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) is warning, though, that not every proposal has a chance of making it through this session because of the potential effects they could have on the state’s budgets.

The Alabama House of Representatives has already passed a bill that would exempt overtime pay from the state income tax, and there are other proposals that would cut Alabama’s grocery tax.

Orr discussed the issue Friday on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal.”

“The Legislature’s going to have to be very strategic as we go down this road,” Orr said, “and pick one or two or three and, depending on the cost, that’ll be about it for all of those credits and exemptions because they cost money and they’re taking money out of education and we need to certainly be mindful of that.”

Orr stressed the impact tax cuts could have on revenue for needed government programs in the future.

“I think the grocery tax and other tax cut type legislation is now going to get a lot of focus … that and a whole host of other tax exemptions, tax credits, tax cut-type legislation,” he said. “We were well over $1 billion and I bet we’re getting close to $2 billion in those kinds of tax-cut legislation.”

He also said it’s just the case in Montgomery that not everyone is going to get what they want when it comes to tax reforms in the state.

“We can’t be all things to all people,” he said, “and you’ve heard it said before that ‘life’s not a Burger King, you can’t have it all your way.’ So we’re going to have to make some hard choices.”

When it comes to Gov. Kay Ivey’s plan of passing a one-time tax rebate, Orr said he believes that’s a different issue from the potential tax cuts.

“A little bit of apples and oranges certainly in my mind,” he said, “because the grocery tax being a long-term or forever, permanent type tax cut that would occur and the $275 million for the rebates being a one-time occurrence. It’s just two different factors at play there.”

While Ivey proposed $400 rebates, the Alabama Senate has advanced a plan that would cut the rebates down to $105 for single people and $210 for couples.

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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