Published 12:59 am Thursday, March 5, 2015

Brad Boothe, Massey Automotive salesperson shows Debra Wilkinson and Norma Day a used Honda civic.

Brad Boothe, Massey Automotive salesperson shows Debra Wilkinson and Norma Day a used Honda civic.

Local car dealers said Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposal to add an additional 2 percent sales tax to car sales would hurt their business

Before and during Bentley’s State of the State address on Tuesday night, the governor proposed a $541 million tax increase with $405 million coming from increases in taxes on tobacco products and automobile sales. The proposal would increase the current rate of 2 percent to 4 percent.

Johnny Jackson, owner of J.M. Jackson Buick Chevrolet, said he hates to see the tax increase because it’s an additional price that his customers have to pay.

“We like to keep the prices low on everything we can,” Jackson said. “Of course, that’s (the tax increase) something out of our control.”

Jackson noted that this sales tax increase may be because other surrounding states have higher sales taxes.

“We hate to see it go up because that’s an added cost,” Jackson said.

Massey Automotive owner Joey Langley said the tax increase makes it more difficult for people to buy car.

“That’s what I do,” Langley said about selling cars. “It prevents them from buying a car, and it prevents us from selling them.”

Langley said he hasn’t seen a proposal with this much of an increase since he’s been at Massey.

“It’s been three and a quarter (3.25) percent forever,” he said. “I haven’t seen an official document.

“Think about when your taxes go up 2 percent on a $100 grocery store ticket,” he said. “Can you imagine applying an extra 2 percent on a $40,000 car?”

If there’s an additional $1,600 on a $40,000 car.

According to reports, legislative leaders are going to review Bentley’s plan, but lawmakers are expected to put forth their own ideas.

Jackson said going forward, the proposal is just a response to see what other states are doing on sales taxes for cars, adding that he doesn’t like to add the extra sales taxes on the car.

“Our hands are tied in this situation,” he said.

If it were to pass, Langley said it will have a “detrimental” impact on the business, equating it when gas prices go up, car sales go down.