NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 16, 2005

Alabama's state tax system is unfair, says the new "Alabama Tax & Budget Handbook," a project of the Arise Citizens' Policy Project and VOICES for Alabama's Children. The readable, easily understandable book is designed to help Alabamians realize just how unfair their tax system is, with the hope of convincing them to change it for the better.

The system is so unfair, that if the majority of Alabamians understood just how unfair it is, they would not stand for it.


  • Alabama is one of just seven states that fully taxes groceries.
  • Alabama begins taxing a family of four at a yearly income of $4,600, which is less than one-fourth of the federal poverty line and the lowest tax threshold in the nation.
  • The bottom fifth of Alabamians (those earning less than $13,000 a year) pay almost 11 percent of their incomes on state and local taxes, while the top 1 percent (with an average income of $682,000) pay 3.8 percent.
  • Alabama's 22 million acres of timberland cover more than 70 percent of the state's land area but generate less than 2 percent of the state's property tax dollars - a rate of less than $1 an acre; Alabama's average combined local and state property taxes could be doubled and they would still rank lowest in the nation.

While the facts are not new, observers hope the new handbook and dozens of workshops across the state will increase the number of people willing to vote for a fairer tax system.

Source: Editorial, "The Facts About Taxes," Birmingham News, September 13, 2005.

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