House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) is reprimanding Republicans on the Alabama House of Representatives Ways and Means/Education Trust Fund Committee for going back on their pledge not to raise taxes and voting to pass a bill that would raise taxes on lube oil by 5,960 percent.
The bill had been voted down on May 6 when four Republican representatives voted against the bill. The bill was brought back up in a hastily-called committee meeting on May 7 and passed after three of the Republicans on the committee changed their votes. Rep. Phil Williams was the only Republican to vote against the tax increase.
“Yesterday they were opposed to the tax increase and today they were for it,” said Ford. “They campaigned on a promise of not raising taxes. Today, all but one of them broke their word and voted to support a 5,960 percent tax increase. I guess someone must have gotten to them during the night.”
Sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), House Bill 587 is a part of the House Republicans tax package that was released on May 5. The bill would change the tax on lube oils from an excise tax to a sales tax. The tax on a 55-gallon barrel of lube oil currently is $3.30. Collins’ bill increases that tax to $200 per barrel, an increase of 5,960 percent, after county and city sales taxes are added to the state sales tax.
Lube oils are used in manufacturing and farm equipment, as well as motor oils and other commonly used lubricants.
“This is a tax that gets passed on to the consumer,” said Ford. “That means when you go to buy groceries, the price of fruits and vegetables will go up because the costs to farmers will go up.”
Ford also noted that the tax could have a negative impact on economic growth and development in the state.
“We promise businesses like Mercedes, Hyundai and Honda all these tax breaks if they come here. Then today these legislators turn around and stab them in the back by raising taxes on the lubricants their machines use. This is going to hurt their ability to expand, and it will definitely hurt the state’s ability to recruit new business to Alabama.”