Alabama lawmakers agree to lower grocery tax

Published 4:38 pm Thursday, June 1, 2023

Alabama families could soon pay less at the grocery store after lawmakers Thursday voted to remove half of the 4% state sales tax on food.

Lawmakers unanimously gave final approval to the long-sought legislation. It would gradually remove half of the state’s 4% sales tax on food by Sept. 1, 2024, provided there is enough revenue growth to offset the loss. The bill now goes to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey

Alabama is one of only three states that tax groceries at the same rate as other purchases.

“This is going be great for working Alabamians. Folks who are struggling to put food on the table,” Republican Sen. Andrew Jones, sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, said after Senate passage.

The measure had been proposed unsuccessfully in Montgomery for decades. But it gained bipartisan support as the state sees a record budget surplus — partly driven by rising prices leading to higher sales tax collections — and consumer frustration over the cost of food.

Robyn Hyden, executive director of Alabama Arise, an advocacy group for low-income families, said, reducing the state sales tax on groceries “will provide meaningful help for Alabamians who struggle to make ends meet.”

“This grocery tax reduction will benefit every Alabamian. And it is an important step toward righting the wrongs of our state’s upside-down tax system, which forces Alabamians with low and moderate incomes to pay a higher share of their incomes in state and local taxes than the wealthiest households,” Hyden said.