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franklin county times

Grocery sales tax cut is good for Franklin Countians

If you haven’t taken part in or overhead a conversation about inflation lately, we’d guess you’re in the minority. Everywhere we turn it seems we are faced with rising prices. One place you might be feeling a little relief, however, is at the grocery store.  

It might seem almost too small of a change to notice, but we’re certainly getting to hang onto a little more of our hard-earned cash since the beginning of this month. Sept. 1 the state’s 4 percent sales tax on grocery items was reduced to 3 percent.  

Did you know Alabama is one of only 13 states that even have a grocery sales tax? And, until this month, it was one of only three states – Mississippi and South Dakota being the other two – to tax groceries at the full state sales tax rate. The other 10 states already offered a reduction or credit; now, mercifully, we join their ranks. 

Perhaps it goes without saying, but we think this is great news for everyone – or, at least, everyone who buys groceries, and isn’t that everyone? 

There’s potentially more good news on the grocery sales tax front, too. If the Education Trust Fund continues to grow, there will be another grocery sales tax cut next year.  

As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities puts it, sales taxes worsen income and racial inequalities. In most instances, people with a lower income pay much more of that income in sales taxes than do people with higher income because they must spend a larger percentage of their income to meet basic needs.  

Particularly, according to the CBPP, the lowest-income families spend almost twice the share of their annual income on food at home that highest-income families spend. 

So the sales tax reduction is especially good news for those with lower incomes. Being a rural county, we know that includes many of us here in Franklin.  

While it’s true that 1 percent might not seem like a lot, every little bit helps, doesn’t it? 

Maybe someday the state will eliminate grocery sales tax entirely – which would be nice as long as it didn’t involve a tax increase elsewhere.  

Change happens one step at a time. 

So next time you’re making a run to Big Star or Dollar General, Price Less or Piggly Wiggly or Walmart, take a glance at the bottom line on that receipt and remember you’re enjoying a little bit of a break – with hopefully more to come.  

Our thanks to the Alabama legislators and other officials who had a hand in making this happen.  

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