The Yellowhammer State appears primed for a Yellow Vest protest of its own. Weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron had to pull the plug on his proposed gas tax hike, Alabama’s new governor is now making a go of raising levies on fuel.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) was sworn in yesterday at the state capitol in Montgomery. In her inauguration speech, Gov. Ivey made clear that hiking the state gas tax will be one of her top priority right out of the starting blocks.
“I never thought I would hear a Republican talk about tax increases and prisons in an inaugural address, or in the same inaugural address,” said Representative Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), who is chairman of the Democratic caucus in the Alabama House of Representatives.
Gov. Ivey’s campaign for a regressive tax hike in a state sandwiched between two zero income tax states stands in stark contrast to her counterparts in the region. To Alabama’s north, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee has promised in writing that he will veto any and all efforts to raise taxes. While it appears Gov. Ivey is making a gas tax hike in Alabama one of her top priorities, Lee meanwhile has stated that one of his top fiscal goals will be providing tax relief to employers in Tennessee:
“We’ve made progress cutting taxes for individuals, but we are tied for the highest tax rate on business entities in the Southeast,” Lee said on the campaign trail last year. “High taxes on businesses mean high taxes on consumers. Now is the opportunity to build on past successes and make Tennessee an even better place to do business.”
On Alabama’s southern border, Florida has a new governor in Ron DeSantis (R-FL) who, like Gov. Lee in Tennessee, has committed in writing to vetoing net tax hikes of the sort that Gov. Ivey is leading with.
Alabama lawmakers convene their new legislative session on March 5th. If Alabama taxpayers want avoid paying higher taxes at the pump, now is the time for them to get in touch with their representatives at the state capital. As Gov. Ivey’s inaugural address makes clear, there will be a powerful and well-funded push for a gas tax hike in 2019. While well-heeled lobbyists will tout Ivey’s proposal, they are pushing a tax increase that would do the greatest harm to Alabama households who are least able to afford the additional cost.