Lawmakers React To Prisons, Grocery Tax In State Of The State Address

In his state of the state address, the Governor Robert Bentley said he wants to get rid of the state food tax.

That’s been something that democrats have pushed for years.

But Governor Bentley said the first step is to create a task force to look into exactly what that would do.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh was caught a little off guard by the plan.

“The grocery tax generates about $250 million into the education trust fund. This year we had about 90 million extra dollars. Had that been in place we would have been short on education. I think we got to really look at that. Where’s that money going to be replaced? That’s the first I’ve heard from the governor,” said Marsh.

Democratic Representative John Knight has carried a bill to do just several times, but it’s never made it all the way to the governor’s desk.

Despite the governor bringing up grocery tax, Knight wasn’t entirely happy when the governor emphasized that the state will not support sanctuary cities for immigrants.

“When you mention the things about sanctuary cities, about immigration, it puts a damper on all of the positive things that were said. Mainly because if you talk about economic development at the same time you talk about automobile plants, then you start talking about immigration, all of that seems difficult to address,” said Rep. Knight.

One of the biggest proposals from the governor was his plan to build four new prisons with an $800 million bond.

This was a tent pole agenda item in his last State of the State address, and the measure failed throughout the year.

Speaker Mac McCutcheon says it could move quickly this year, along with some education measures.

“We know the prison bill is a bill that will move early on during the legislative process this session. That one is important. Pre-k funding, the house membership has set that as one of our priority agendas,” said McCutcheon.

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