Preface: Alabama is broke and Gov. Bentley is trying to find ways of raising state revenues.
“We are looking at all possibilities right now for the next four years because we have to. That’s my job,” Bentley told the Associated Press.
Birmingham and Montgomery are tied for first place among major cities with the highest sales tax rates, at 10 cents on the dollar.
Alabama is one of only a few states that taxes groceries at a full rate.
Which means Alabamians who make less money pay a far higher rate of tax than those who make more. Which means Alabama is disproportionately financing itself on the backs of its lowest earners.
My opinion: It is abundantly clear that the current methods of raising tax revenue in Alabama are not working. And although the author of this article is very opinionated, the facts which I have cited are true. Our sales tax and grocery tax burden our poorest citizens to a substantial degree.
How can we as a state expect the poorest among us to make strides in advancing their standard of living when we have a tax system that keeps them in poverty? I’m not saying we should start providing more handouts. I’m saying we need to implement a tax system where the richest members of Alabama make sacrifices that are proportionate to those made by the poorest members.
Imagine if we lived in medieval times. And a tax was instituted on bread in order to pay for the building of roads in the kingdom. Now, the king buys just as much bread as the peasant so they are paying the same level of taxes. However, because of the tax, the peasants can no longer buy other goods. The king, on the other hand, makes no sacrifices to his lifestyle yet gets to use the road as much as the peasants.
Even if you think this is a fair tax system, as we can all see, this sort of taxation is not working for Alabama presently.
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