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State Sen. Sam Givhan on the grocery tax: ‘I’d be surprised if it goes away’

With the cost of most consumer goods increasing due to record-high inflation, some are calling on the Alabama Legislature to cut taxes to give Alabamians some relief in their wallets.

In response to the increasing prices some groups like Alabama Arise, a non-profit public policy advocacy group, have continued to call for Alabama to eliminate the grocery tax. Alabama is only one of six states that has a full tax on groceries without any kind of discount available.

The current state tax rate on groceries is 4%.

Thursday on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) said he doubted the legislature would cut the grocery tax any time soon.

“I’d be surprised if it goes away,” Givhan said. “It’s something we’ve been talking about, even Republicans, for four years, but where do you make it up, and do you cut that tax now when we think we’re going into hard times? Is that a smart decision?”

The state lawmaker highlighted some of the issues that made eliminating the tax a challenge.

“There’s also a concern,” he explained, “about how we would, if we were to take off the grocery tax, [first] you’ve got a question of what’s groceries, is something loaded with sugar groceries or not? So that’s one question. Then, another is can we stop the municipalities from just back filling that. They go, ‘Hey, everybody’s used to paying 10 or 11 cents in tax on groceries. The state just took their four cents off; let’s increase ours.’ Do you have an absolute ban? There’s a concern that it’s just going to be illusory and not going to be any real benefit for the taxpayers.”

The state senator admitted the economy was in a tough spot currently.

“We’ve got a couple of forces working against each other right now, right?” he said. “One is we are into inflationary times — there’s no question about that. Even the White House apparently can’t deny that…you still have got the labor shortages; what’s causing a lot of things is simple supply and demand. You’ve got a supply limitation out there, and the demand is not going down, and until the demand goes down, those prices aren’t going to come down.”

Givhan also pointed out that while the state was getting more revenue as a result of inflation, that also meant the cost of things the state paid for had also increased.

“You know it’s cost us more to do things, us being government,” he warned, “and cause that’s inflationary pressure there, it cost more to build everything, asphalt cost more, etc. etc…. and it’s just a matter of fact. How do you get around that?”

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

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