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Alabama Arise strives to end grocery tax

Alabama Arise is working to end the state sales tax on groceries.

Fighting poverty throughout the state for more than 30 years, the non-profit group considers this issue a top priority and one of the top goals on Alabama Arise’s 2020 legislative agenda.

Last week, the organization held a news conference at the state house to emphasize the need to end Alabama’s state sales tax on groceries.

According to Alabama Arise, removing the grocery tax quickly and responsibly would boost economic security for all Alabamians.

On that day more than 200 Arise supporters gathered at the state house to urge lawmakers to end the tax.

Currently, Ala. remains one of 3 states with no tax break on groceries. The sales tax for the state of Ala. is 4 percent. Couple this with a county and city tax, and citizens in the Greater Brewton Area are facing an extra 10-11 percent tax for every visit to the local grocery store.

This is not the case for other states. For instance, in Fla. groceries and prescription medicines are exempt from the state’s 6 percent sales tax. With the close vicinity of Fla. to Brewton, if an exemption like this were to pass, local sales could potentially increase.

As of right now, prescription drugs are exempt in the state of Ala., and the state reports a lower sales tax than most other states.

The current sales tax for Escambia County is 2 percent. The current sales tax for the city of Brewton is 4 percent and 5 percent for the city of East Brewton. This equates to 10 and 11 percent citizens are facing with each visit. If grocery items were to become exempt from the tax, this percentage would be cut almost in half.

“That would help any sales locally,” Pic-N-Sav Manager Sheilla Shipp said.

Working inside a local grocery store, Shipp recognized the benefit that would arise from the potential tax decrease.

“Brewton would definitely benefit. People would be more encouraged to come here to shop locally. It would definitely increase everyone’s sales,” Shipp added.

Before going to press Piggly Wiggly and Walmart were not available for comment.