How Alabama should handle its budget surplus continues to fuel speculation about the possibility of the Alabama Legislature instituting tax relief in the upcoming quadrennium.
State Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Tuscumbia) argues tax reduction should be a priority when the new legislature first meets in 2023.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," the Colbert County Republican lawmaker pointed to the benefits of lowering the tax burden, and he argued the way to reduce the size of government was to "stop the flow of money."
"I want us to eliminate some taxes," Stutts declared. "You know, we have record revenues in the state. States all around us are cutting taxes, phasing out state income tax. Two of our bordering states already don't have a state income tax. And when we look at being a business-friendly environment, you know, lowering taxes to me is more important than incentives. Lowering taxes helps everybody. It helps the people who are working, whether it is the state income tax or whether it is a grocery tax – those are basically taxes that all people who work pay.
"I don't know exactly how that's going to look, but I do know that we have record revenue in both budgets, and part of that is relative to all of the federal money that we have received, but we've got more money than we've ever had. And so, I think we need to let the people keep some of that. I know there's talk of giving a one-time rebate of taxes back to the people, but the problem with that is, to me, there is a fundamental difference between the government giving you some money back – we're going to take your money, and we're going to give you part of it back versus not taking it in the first place. If you really believe in smaller government, if you really believe in shrinking government, if you believe in cutting out things that aren't essential government services, the only way to do that is to stop the flow of money.
"And so, I'm in favor of fundamental tax change that means we [take] less of your money.”
Stutts acknowledged Gov. Kay Ivey's statement at the end of the fiscal year that raised the possibility of tax rebates. However, she also dismissed the possibility of "permanent structural change" to the tax code, which he said could pose a problem for efforts to cut taxes. He also said he was unaware of how receptive his Republican colleagues were to tax cuts.
Stutts, however, maintained Alabama's neighboring states were the example to follow.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.
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