Lee: Bill would help state farmers, businesses

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Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2013 4:40 pm | Updated: 4:43 pm, Thu Dec 26, 2013.

State Rep. Paul Lee plans to sponsor a bill he believes will help farm equipment sellers compete evenly with state neighbors.

Lee, a Dothan Republican, said Thursday his bill will exempt the sale of farm equipment from state sales tax. Lee said Florida, Georgia and Tennessee already have the exemption.

Large farm tractors can range anywhere from $250,000 to $700,000. Not having to pay the 1.5 percent sales tax could save consumers between $3,700 and $10,000, and cost local businesses customers.

“Where do you think they’re going to go?” Lee asked.

Dewayne Williams, store manager for SunSouth Dothan, said nearby access to Georgia and Florida can affect business.

“Not only do they go across state lines to buy a tractor, but then they have established a relationship with that business and that will be where they go to get it repaired,” Williams said.

Lee’s bill has not yet been pre-filed and has not been scored by the Legislative Fiscal Office to estimate how much tax revenue would be lost, but Lee said any lost revenue would be made up by business being retained in the state.

“It’s not about lost revenue,” Lee said. “It is about trying to stop money from leaving the state. We’re not building an environment for businesses.”

The bill will be co-sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Tom Whatley, a Republican who represents the 27th District, comprising Lee, Russell and Tallapoosa counties.

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