Fourth time, really?

Published 6:33 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For the fourth time this legislative session Alabama House Democrats brought up for debate a bill to remove the state’s 4 percent sales tax from groceries.

At what point will lawmakers put this issue to rest?

It was frustrating when the bill didn’t pass the first time; disappointing when it failed the second; but the third attempt bordered on ridiculous. This fourth attempt crosses the line into irresponsible behavior.

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Democrats knew they did not have the necessary votes to pass the bill because Republican leaders still opposed the measure, saying it would raise income taxes on some wealthy taxpayers, which are a portion of their constituents.

While, we’re sure many Alabamians could benefit from the repeal of the 4 percent grocery tax, how many other notable bills are being overlooked because the grocery tax bill is high on someone’s agenda, but not on others?

Besides, taking away the 4 percent tax is only going to save $4 on every $100 worth of groceries.

Do the math, is it really necessary to spend all this time on one bill that hasn’t passed not once, not twice, not three times already?

On Tuesday, there were many other pertinent bills on the agenda, including HB 226, which would require parental consent for 16 and 17 year olds to terminate school enrollment, and HB 629, which would make a universal school start date for all public elementary and secondary schools in the state, just to name a few that could have been top priority on the agenda.

But, our lawmakers found it more pertinent to put a bill on the top of its agenda that hasn’t passed three times prior to Tuesday’s session.

While, we understand the Legislature has an enormous amount of bills to go through during the session, we can’t help but question where the priorities lie.

After all it did take nearly the whole session to pass a state education budget and the general fund budget still hasn’t passed, and the current session ends May 15.

Some of the only things, the legislature has accomplished this session in a timely manner is giving itself a raise and wasting valuable time on bills that continue to fail.

We urge our lawmakers to make wiser decisions and not waste time in the next session.