It really didn’t hit me until my family went to the beach last year.
We arrived in Destin– immediately driving to a nearby Publix on Highway 98 to buy our groceries.
We pushed our cart through the store and selected food, drinks, and snacks for our four day stay.
At the checkout counter, our cashier printed a receipt and told us how much we had saved on BOGO’s and other discounts.
But she didn’t mention one other big discount.
Our total bill was $121.42.
What was the other discount?
There is no sales tax on groceries in Florida.
None, zero, zilch!
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
If we had purchased the same items at our Publix in Vestavia Hills our sales tax would have been $12.14. (10%)
Do the math and guesstimate what we must all pay in grocery sales taxes every year.
But then my big idea!
Folks from Alabama could buy groceries in Florida with no sales tax to take back home to sell for 5% more. The buyer would save 5% and the sellers would earn 5%.
Okay, so this idea is not very practical.
But it does make you think.
Alabama, its counties, and municipalities fully tax groceries– only one of seven states to do so.
Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato told me when Hoover was evaluating a sales tax increase, his intention was to recommend Hoover not charge sales tax on groceries, but was told by his legal department that the state would not allow it.
Also keep in mind that according to USA Today, Alabama has the highest local tax rate in America. States like Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon have no sales tax at all.
Governor Ivey is now proposing we raise our state gas tax by 10¢ per gallon to fund better roads and bridges. It’s estimated that this will cost the average driver $55 per year or more.
Some Alabama lawmakers are proposing we cut taxes on groceries to balance out the increase in the gas tax.
“Nearly 62 percent of respondents said they’d support raising gas taxes if grocery taxes were decreased by the same amount, according to a statewide poll commissioned earlier this month by the Alabama Forestry Association. “
What do you think?
Let’s turn Birmingham around. Click here to sign up for our newsletter. There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)
David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).
Invite David to speak to your group about a more prosperous Birmingham. firstname.lastname@example.org