MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) on Thursday morning submitted a bill in the Alabama Senate that will require any new sales or use tax in Tuscaloosa County be approved by a referendum of the people.
“The people of Tuscaloosa County should have a say in whether or not their taxes are raised,” Senator Allen commented on Thursday. “Currently, the law allows city officials to raise taxes by a simple vote of the city council. I believe that any attempt to raise broad-based taxes should have a vetting process that includes public hearings, an explanation of where the tax proceeds will go, and a vote of the people.”
Under Allen’s bill, if city officials in Tuscaloosa County propose a tax increase, at least two public hearings would have to be held on the tax increase, and then the tax proposal would then have to be approved by a referendum of that city’s voters. The bill applies to every municipality in Tuscaloosa County.
“In April, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in South Dakota v Wayfair, a case that will decide whether states will be able to collect sales taxes from online, out-of-state businesses like Amazon,” Allen said. “There is no need to rush to raise taxes on the people of Tuscaloosa, when it’s likely that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of South Dakota and the states, with an outcome of additional tax revenue flowing to municipalities in Tuscaloosa County and across Alabama.”
Allen’s bill is a Constitutional Amendment. If approved by the State Legislature, the amendment will be voted on by the people in the November general election.
“Good government means being a wise steward of taxpayer dollars, and if government officials need more taxpayer money, they should have to explain why,” Allen said. “An attempt to raise the sales tax, which affects every single person, shouldn’t be an easy thing to do.”
Senator Gerald Allen represents District 21 in the Alabama State Senate, which is comprised of all or parts of Tuscaloosa, Pickens, and Lamar Counties. He is chairman of the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee. Follow him on Twitter for his latest legislative updates: @SenGeraldAllen