Sen. Gerald Dial’s food tax ban died, but others viable on last day
by Debra Flax
May 17, 2013 | 3095 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In his ninth term, Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, has seen plenty of legislative sessions. He’s pleased with how this one has turned out.

“I think the main objective of this session was to pass the budget,” he said. “And we’ve passed both of those. It’s a tough economic time right now, but we’ve all been committed to no new taxes.”

The 2013 legislative session is set to end Monday.

Dial had his own big plans for the year — including a bill that would eliminate the sales tax on food by increasing increasing the sales tax on other items. The bill never came to the floor of the Senate.

“It takes a lot of work to get there, but I’ll keep at it. We’ll continue to get there,” he said last week.

Opponents of the bill argue that an increase on overall sales tax would not provide the needed relief for families to benefit from the lack of a food tax. Locally, however, the idea had some support.

“I wish they would get rid of the sales tax on food,” said Danny Cobb, owner of Cobb Produce in Heflin. “It would make my customers happier, it’d make me happier, and then maybe I’d be able to make some money.”

The grocery tax bill is just one of more than 30 Dial introduced this year, and some still have a chance of passage on the session’s final day. Among them is a constitutional amendment that would allow the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings and a bill that would create a board charged with bringing a commercial spaceport to Alabama.

“The placement of spaceport in Alabama is important for a number of reasons,” he said. “The first reason being that it’ll bring jobs. It’ll create high skill technology labor for the state. We need to be out front for space study and Alabama should be the face of space travel.”

A former Alabama National Guard service member and retired brigadier general, Dial said he tries to bring his military training to his Senate office.

“I was fortunate to learn leadership skills during my time and I try to apply that level of guidance to my legislative process and just working with people,” he said. “You have to do things right. I do right by people and respect people’s interests even if they disagree with me.”
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