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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Montgomery Republican Introduces Sales Tax Bill

State Rep. Greg Wren, R-Montgomery, has introduced his own "sales tax fairness" bill.

Wren announced Wednesday that he had introduced a bill that would gradually remove the state's 4 percent sales tax on food.

"As the sponsor of the 2002 and 2008 Constitutional Rainy Day Accounts for the Education Trust Fund (ETF) and the General Fund, I believe the Sales Tax Fairness Act of 2009 will allow the Legislature to pass a responsible tax reform measure which removes regressive tax on food, maintains the fundamental growth needs of the ETF, ensures the ETF will not be forced int proration and does not increase taxes on any Alabama taxpayer," he said, in a press release.
"I believe there are House and Senate members willing to place people over politics and sound tax policy over class and political finger-pointing."

Wren's bill would remove 1 percent of the state sales tax on food after two consecutive years of minimum 3 percent growth in the ETF. If the state's ETF growth exceeds 3 percent for four consecutive years, the entire 4 percent sales tax would be repealed after six fiscal years.

The bill would not replace any lost revenue with money that could be gained from repealing the state's allowance of a deduction of federal income taxes, as the fellow Montgomeryian state Rep. John Knight's bill would do. The bill also wouldn't be a constitutional amendment that requires the vote of the people, but would be effective at some point after the governor signs it.

According to Wren's release, if the ETF does not grow by 3 percent, it would lengthen the time for a repeal of the 4 percent sales tax.

The buzz in these hallowed halls is that this bill is at least a "double-dog dare" to the Democrats. The likelihood of the Democrats supporting a bill that doesn't replace any lost revenue to the ETF doesn't look good (or they might have proposed that by now). Republicans know that.

The political question is does either side want to take the risk that would be necessary to try either approach to remove the state portion of the sales tax on food? What do you think?

Stay tuned friends.

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks
UPDATE: Fellow statehouse press corps member, Kim Chandler, over at The Birmingham News is reporting that the House Republican Caucus also is pushing another bill regarding the state sales tax on food. Kim reports that the bill, sponsored by state Rep. DuWayne Bridges, R-Valley, would give tax rebates to low-income families to offset the burden of the state's 4 percent sales tax by giving a $75 per person tax credit for each person in the house who has an adjusted gross income of less than $15,000. A family of four at that level could recieve an annual tax rebate of about $300, according to the report.

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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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