Tennessee governor proposes 30-day grocery tax suspension

TENNESSEE — Proposed legislation by Gov. Bill Lee could save you some money at the cash register.

If passed, it would be a 30-day suspension on grocery taxes.

The Governor announced it Thursday while visiting a Covington grocery store and talking to Tipton County leaders.

“Inflation is at a 40 year high and our state is in a fiscally responsible position to be able to allow Tennesseans to keep some of that hard-earned money through this tax suspension,” said Lee.

Grocery shoppers say it’s a break they’d look forward to if passed.

“It’s awesome. I’m a student-athlete. I go to the University of Memphis, so any money that I’m able to save is great,” said John Camden, a freshman Memphis Tigers basketball player.

“I definitely like the idea of suspending sales tax for about a month. The price of food has definitely increased dramatically, especially for families period,” said young mom Lukita Wilson.

Lee says a cut in the grocery tax is something that all Tennesseans can benefit from, but there are three exclusions: candy, alcohol, and prepared meals.

It was Judson Naifeh, owner of Naifeh’s Cash Saver in Covington, that asked for ways to benefit the business owners, proposing some compensation for them as well.

“We provide more tax dollars than everyone. Tennessee is a great fiscal state that really doesn’t have a lot of tax, but other states do pay a vendor compensation. We don’t have a vendors compensation,” said Naifeh.

If passed, Lee says the state will take a closer look at how much the 30 days will cost them and if it needs to be extended.

According to a release from the governor’s office, the tax suspension would provide direct relief for Tennesseans facing a nationwide cost-

“As Americans see their cost-of-living skyrocket amid historic inflation, suspending the grocery tax is the most effective way to provide direct relief to every Tennessean,” said Gov. Lee. “Our state has the ability to put dollars back in the pockets of hardworking Tennesseans, and I thank members of the General Assembly for their continued partnership in maintaining our fiscally conservative approach.”

The governor’s proposal will be included in the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 budget amendment, which will be delivered on Tuesday, March 29.

Lee hosted a roundtable with business leaders in Covington on Thursday to discuss the tax cut proposal and hear about the impact of economic challenges on local businesses.