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Tax Payer Relief ActPosted Wednesday, August 17, 2011, at 10:46 AM
Cut the sales tax on food and fund need-based scholarships.
Our economy is still in recovery. Businesses are hurting, it's getting harder to send the kids off to college & even buying groceries has become a struggle for many families. That's why I believe it's time for state government to stand up and do something to help working people.
For the past several months, the State of Tennessee has brought in more money than our budget anticipated. In layman's terms, this means the public paid more in sales tax than we intended and we now have a surplus. Rather than finding a place to spend this surplus, I believe we need to use it to provide businesses & working families with some much needed relief.
That's why earlier this week I filed the "Tennessee Tax Payer Relief Act." As introduced, this legislation would take the surplus revenue each year and invest it in two ways. First, half of the surplus would go to provide need based college scholarships through the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation. Second, the remaining half of the surplus would go toward a reduction in the sales tax rate on food & food ingredients.
This kind of tax relief will have 3 positive impacts on our economy in Tennessee.
First, it will help families struggling to pay for college. We know that an educated workforce is the key to attracting good jobs to our community. By investing some of this surplus money in our kids now, we are helping our economic prospects down the road.
Second, it provides tax cuts for working people & brings our sales tax on food down to levels more like other states. Our current sales tax rate on food is 5.5%. This rate is burdensome, especially to working families already struggling to pay for food, gas, clothing & a mortgage. It's also disproportionately high when compared to states around Tennessee. Arkansas, for example, taxes food at 2%, Missouri at 1.2%, Alabama at 4% & Kentucky has no tax at all on food. Our food tax rate is too high for this economy and we need to bring it in line with other states.
Finally, this bill will stimulate our local economies. By reducing the tax on food and relieving some of the burden of increased tuition, we are putting more money into people's pockets. As a result, these individuals are more likely to spend that money elsewhere. This will generate more sales tax revenue for our state and help boost the profits of local businesses.
All in all, this is a win-win situation for our state and our citizens. I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues in introducing this legislation. I hope Republicans will join us and provide some real tax relief to the people of Tennessee.
As always, if you have any questions about this new law or would like to hear more about another issue, please contact my legislative office and we'll get your questions answered as soon as possible. Have a great week!
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