The opinion piece in the October 14 Times Daily raised important taxpayer issues. For example, it recommended eliminating the sales tax on groceries in Alabama. That would make a big difference for the hundreds of families in our area alone who are struggling to put enough food on the table.
Thirteen states impose sales taxes on groceries, but only Alabama, Mississippi, and South Dakota still tax them at the full state tax rate. Sales taxes worsen income and racial inequalities. Low-income people must spend a very large share of their income to meet basic needs - and therefore spend a much greater percentage of their income on sales taxes than higher-income people do.
The COVID pandemic has put more seniors, children, and homeless at risk of food insecurity. Charitable organizations in the Shoals saw a steep increase in the number of people who depend on grocery supplements. The need for such help remains high.
Prices for food are rising due to inflation and supply chain disruptions. Removing the sales tax on groceries would help offset the increased costs for those most adversely affected.
The Alabama legislature has sufficient options and revenue from taxes and Federal grants to improve the well-being of lower income citizens. In addition to eliminating the grocery tax, which cities and counties should also do, the legislature needs to expand Medicaid coverage, and provide more help for rural hospitals and schools.
We need to elect legislators who will do the right thing – for all of us.