Will Arizona Get Rid of Food Tax?

Grocery store in Gilbert, Arizona.

Natural grocers

Grocery store in Gilbert, Arizona.

Hinckley Thurmond, reporter

Over the past year, we have seen an exponential increase in grocery prices. A dozen eggs can cost up to $7.00 and any pre-packaged goods have half the bag empty. Inflation has taken a toll on many families all over the country. Though the Arizona legislature cannot single-handedly eliminate these high prices, bill HB 2061 would be able to reduce grocery prices by getting rid of all food tax in Arizona, if passed.

In Arizona, 21 of the state’s 91 cities are already exempt from the food tax. However, Gilbert and Chandler, the cities of many students here,  are not a part of those 21. Some cities that don’t pay food tax consist of Mesa, Tempe, and Tucson. Food tax is a tax put on food, both fresh and packaged, at places like grocery stores and supercenters. 

There have been two sides to the idea of getting rid of food tax together in Arizona.

The people who agree with the bill, believe that the slight decrease in grocery prices will help many Arizonians around the state. Leo Biasiucci, Bill sponsor, says “Inflation is through the roof right now. Families are suffering, especially when you look at the aspect of low-income families who, for the most part, have to go to the grocery to buy their food.” People who agree with Biasiucci feel that any sort of help toward the decrease of prices will be beneficial to Arizona residents. 

Though there are people who think that the bill would be very helpful to many citizens, there are also people who think that the bill would do more harm than good to the economy in terms of funding. Food tax gives the states more funds so that they can pay for things like repairing roads and landscaping. Tom Belshe, Executive director for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, along with his team, are some people who are against the elimination of food tax. “The reward of this, while it might provide a small relief for the average Arizonan, overall it’s a big impact to cities and towns and affects our ability to provide services they want,” said Belshe. “The impacted services we provide like public safety, parks and recreation, and libraries, these are things that are going to suffer because food taxes make up such a large component of city budgets in a lot of cities.” He, along with others who agree with him, believes that by getting rid of the funding, many of the services offered would not be able to continue leading to our towns being less maintained.

Some people may say that both sides of the argument sound flawed. Even if that is the case, the discussion of whether or not getting rid of food tax is a good idea is an important one that should be discussed among the citizens of the cities it affects. It is important to be aware of the possible changes around our cities that have an impact on our daily lives.