Sales tax holiday for groceries could be coming to Tennessee

Two bills in the Tennessee General Assembly would pause sales tax on groceries.
Two bills in the Tennessee General Assembly would pause sales tax on groceries
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:54 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Prices for groceries have skyrocketed over the past year, but some relief could be coming to Tennessee if some lawmakers get their way.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that food prices across the country are up 10.4% compared to a year ago with cereal and dairy products up more than 15% each.

Previous coverage: Food prices continue to soar, see biggest increase in decades

It’s something that’s hitting the senior citizen community particularly hard.

“We’re finding that older adults are having to choose what they’re spending their money on,” said Angela Bartlett with the Knox County Office on Aging.

Bartlett said some older adults locally are being forced to choose between food, medicine or utility bills.

“A lot of times, they’ll just call in and say, ‘I’m really hungry, I can’t afford food, what can I do?’” Bartlett said.

Two bills are in the state General Assembly that could provide help. One would give Tennesseans older than 70 a sales tax holiday on groceries for July through September.

The other would give all Tennesseans the same tax break on groceries for August and September.

The bill to help older adults was introduced by Representative Michael Hale, a Republican out of Smithville.

In a statement to WVLT news, Hale said, “Senior citizens, especially those on a fixed income, are really struggling right now because of inflation...This legislation is one way that we as a state can provide additional relief to those Tennesseans.”

Bartlett said the sales tax holiday on groceries would be welcomed by older adults

“Any opportunity to save even just a little bit of money that can maybe get you further throughout the year is going to be beneficial,” Bartlett said.

Older adults struggling to pay for groceries are encouraged to call the Office on Aging at 865-524-2786. They have programs, like SNAP and Mobile Meals, that can help.