Grocery tax bill back again

Published 9:25 pm Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Alabama Legislative session won’t end this year without at least an attempt at all too familiar territory — removing the grocery tax.

For the twelfth year in a row, the Legislature will take another look at a proposal to eliminate the state’s four-cent sales tax on groceries, after a House committee voted to bring the bill up in session.

Rep. Alan Boothe, D-Troy, who sits on the committee that voted it out Wednesday, said he isn’t quite sure where he stands on the bill just yet.

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“I’ve got some questions about it, areas I have to be sure of before I commit that I will or won’t vote for the bill,” Boothe said.

While the issues of removing grocery taxes has been discussed several times before, Boothe said there are some differences in this bill.

Boothe said those changes come in compensating for the loss of around $405 million the state earns annually in taxing groceries. But, many Republicans have issue with how the loss will be covered, the Associated Press reports.

The bill would stop higher-income residents of the state from using a state income tax deduction on federal income taxes paid. This would mean residents making between $150,000 and $300,000 a year would no longer be eligible for exemption, the AP reports.

This bill would have to come before the state’s voters on Nov. 2 before taking effect.

But, with little time remaining in session, Boothe said he’s not certain the bill has much of a chance.

“It’s a push. I think it will be tough for that bill to get out of here. I don’t think there’s enough time left, but I’ve been wrong before,” he said.

Considering this bill was a lengthy issue in last year’s session, Boothe said he’s just not confident there will be an agreement.