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State Sen. Givhan: Cut grocery tax ‘in half’

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion around the idea of the Alabama Legislature passing some kind of tax relief in the next session due to the state receiving extra revenue.

Gov. Kay Ivey has come out in support of a one time tax rebate, but also warned that a lot of the extra funds came from the American Rescue Plan, which means that money will not be replaced when it’s depleted.

State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) joined WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” last week and suggested cutting the grocery tax to provide tax relief to the people of Alabama.

“Right now, we’ve got an excess,” Givhan said about the Education Trust Fund, “and we are looking, in fact I was talking to the Legislative Services Agency…along with several other senators. We were discussing ideas down in Montgomery about what we could do. The first thing I think we’ve got to do is put in a block that stops the cities and counties from having a sales tax more than X percent, and then we look at maybe cutting the grocery tax in half.”

The Yellowhammer State currently has a 4% tax on groceries.

Givhan admitted it might be a struggle to get a grocery tax cut through the Legislature, but he believes it’s worth the effort.

“It’s on the table,” he noted, “it’s like everything else, you’ve got to have a majority of the legislature salute it and you’ve got to have the governor sign it…lots of things get discussed…that’s where it has to start.”

Givhan explained the process in the Legislature that the proposal would have to go through before it has a real chance of becoming law.

“We’ve also got to see the numbers,” he said. “And our group…when we go back, not necessarily the next time we go back to Montgomery, but soon, we’ll have people with the LSA meeting with us and going over budget numbers with us, so everything that’s going to happen is going to go through Budget Committee.”

The senator responded to concerns by some who think it’s not a good idea to take money away from the education fund.

“The truth of the matter is we can’t give them enough money,” he said, “never, it’s an insatiable desire, and that’s apparent in almost everything we do in government is always more money is the solution, and I think we could look at a number of things and say that’s not the case.”

Givhan said he would like to cut the the state income tax as well, but doesn’t believe it would gain enough support to have a chance of passing.

“As much as I would like to change the income tax…I don’t think that’s going to have the kind of energy behind me to get that done,” he said. “There are a number of hurdles. It would require a constitutional amendment.”

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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