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Madison City Council passes resolution opposing set of bills in Alabama Legislature

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MADISON, Al. - A set of bills making their way through the Alabama Legislature could benefit hurting pharmacies, but cause municipalities to lose out on valuable tax money.

HB 58 and SB 31 each deal with prescription drugs and business license tax.

According to the fiscal notes, "The bill would decrease municipal business license tax receipts of municipalities that calculate such tax based on gross sales by an amount dependent on the prescription drug sales of the municipal business licensee."

That means the sale of prescription drugs wouldn't be included in the calculation of the cost a business pays for its license.

Pharmacists tell WHNT News 19 the bills are a necessity for independent pharmacies. Since pharmacies have no control over the retail price of prescriptions they dispense, the burden is heavy. If pharmacies wish to dispense the drugs and provide the service for customers, they need to accept the set price for that drug.

But municipalities are not OK with these bills.

Monday, Madison's city council passed a resolution opposing them.

In Madison, there are more than 13 pharmacies according to council president Tommy Overcash. If prescription drug sales were exempt from the business license tax costs, the city could lose out on $75,000-$80,000, he said.

"Every little bit helps," he explained.

But it's beyond costs. Overcash also believes this wouldn't be fair for other businesses and the state government shouldn't get involved.

"It's very much a local responsibility to determine what our business licenses are," said Overcash. "Why would Montgomery be trying to tell us how to compute our business licenses?"

The Madison City Attorney emailed the resolution to local legislators, Overcash said.

As of Monday evening, the bills had made it out of their respective committees but had not come up for a floor vote.