Dothan Eagle. July 25, 2022.
Editorial: Let’s Eat Cake
According to the story, peasants were starving during the French Revolution; Informed of this, the queen, Marie Antoinette, reportedly said casually, “Let them eat cake!” One school of thought suggests this is a long-standing mistranslation, but it’s likely never said such a thing.
However, it suggests that cavalier disregard for the plight of the people is nothing new. That, and how history repeats itself.
With inflation hitting 9.1% at the end of June, Alabamians are looking to state officials for some relief. Where there is a will, there is a way. The Mississippi Legislature passed the state’s largest-ever tax cut when it cut state income taxes earlier this year. Tennessee lawmakers suspended the sales tax on groceries for August, and Georgia and Florida are easing the pain by suspending the state fuel tax.
But in Alabama, don’t expect that to happen. For starters, President Joe Biden has suggested suspending fuel taxes, so naturally the proposal would be rejected out of hand by Alabama supporters. Officials argue that most fuel tax revenue funds the state’s matching money for federal infrastructure allocations, and the loss of that revenue would impact highway projects.
Given the state’s current rosy finances, this rationale seems fallacious.
Nor hope for any other remedy, at least until next spring when the legislative session convenes.
Lawmakers are bouncing around ideas on a tax refund to put a few hundred dollars — and we mean “little” — in taxpayers’ pockets, but there’s no impetus to do so in a session. special by spring.
However, here’s a new thought: why not use federal coronavirus relief funds to provide economic relief to Alabama residents rather than building new prisons with it?
Last year, the president authorized a $1.9 trillion US bailout package (ARPA) to distribute federal funds to states to use for health and economic recovery. Alabama received $2.1 billion, which it committed to various projects, including the questionable allocation for building prisons. Beyond that, the state would have $1.8 billion in surplus funds, reports al.com.
State Sen. Arthur Orr, who chairs the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee, said state officials were unsure whether ARPA funds could be used to support a reimbursement of tax. This, too, seems dishonest, since the state has nearly $2 billion in surplus funds beyond the ARPA allocation.
Every penny of state budgets belongs to the taxpayers, many of whom struggle to buy a tank of gas or a Sunday chicken. They deserve to get some of it back, as soon as possible.
Or we could just eat cake.