Alabama enjoys lowest taxes around

Published 5:28 pm Friday, October 15, 2010

Alabama has the lowest taxes in the nation. This didn’t happen by accident. It was what the people of Alabama have wanted, and the Legislature listened.

According to the U.S. Census, Alabama collects fewer state and local taxes per person than any other state. We collect less incomes taxes, sales taxes and property taxes than the other 49 states. Moreover, the census takes into account all the ways other states try and raise revenue, through fees and other non-tax levies, and still Alabama comes out the least. We don’t try and go around the tax issue by slipping in other revenue measures. Alabamians know a tax is a tax, no matter what it’s called.

Alabama has had the lowest taxes for a long time. During this election season much has been made of Democrats having been the majority in the statehouse since Reconstruction ended. For more than 100 years Alabama Democrats have worked to keep taxes low. For some, that goes against the story they want to tell, but facts are facts.

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Having the lowest taxes in the nation says much about Alabama.

First, it shows that Alabamians expect our state and local governments to work as efficiently as possible. Again, it goes against the narrative for some that our government uses resources well, but it is self-evident we do more with less.

Alabama provides the same services that other states do. We have courts, public safety and a prison system to keep law and order. We have schools, and even though they have suffered much during the economic downturn, they still have made great progress and are responsible for one of the most productive workforces in the country. We take care of the sick and elderly, look out for the most vulnerable children who are abused or neglected, and provide highways to every corner of the state.

Alabama does all these things with less tax dollars than anyone else. That means we stretch every tax dollar as we provide the services a modern state requires. We look for efficiencies whenever we can. Sometimes this leads to difficulties. Nonetheless, demanding much out of each taxpayer dollar is the right thing to do, and having the lowest taxes makes us do that very thing.

Having the lowest taxes is a powerful incentive for industry and helps enhance the state’s business climate. When Alabama is recruiting a new company, we use our tax status as one of the tools to bring them here. It helps, and we are constantly looking to use our low taxes as a major incentive to attract new businesses.

Having the lowest taxes is good for the economy. By keeping more money in the pockets of consumers rather than going to government coffers gets people buying again. Consumer spending is the engine of our state and national economy, and the more money folks have, the more they have to purchase new goods and services.

Low taxes are a good thing for families. Especially in these tough times when it has become a little more difficult to keep a roof overhead and food on the table, making sure taxes take the smallest bite out of the family budget helps.

Democrats in the House and Senate want to continue to lower taxes for families by eliminating the state sales tax on groceries. This food tax cut would save an average Alabama family hundreds of dollars each year, and would have an immediate impact.

Having the lowest taxes in the nation is something Alabama should be proud of. The members of the Legislature stand by it, and will make sure that this accomplishment continues in the future.

AJ McCampbell is a state representative for Marengo County.