MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Tennessee food shoppers know all too well about the price they pay at the register. Everything costs more these days because of rising fuel prices, but there's a chance that you could soon see a miracle. Several state senators are introducing ideas that would do away with the state sales tax on food.
Rich or poor, everybody eats. The sales tax on food doesn't discriminate. If a bill sponsored by Tennessee State Senator Jim Kyle of Memphis passes in Nashville, that sales tax on food will be a thing of the past.
"This is the number one priority of the Senate Democrats and the House Democrats, to get the sales tax off of food as far as revenue measures are concerned," Kyle said.
The sales tax keeps Tennessee running. Frankly, that's why it's so high; instead of looking at other forms of taxation over the years, legislators have just raised the sales tax. It's close to ten percent in Shelby County.
Mayor A C Wharton noted, "I think sales tax is one of the most regressive taxes and particularly when it comes to the elderly and the poor."
In a city where poverty is not just a word, but a way of life for tens of thousands of people, any tax is going to be tough to pay. But food is one thing everybody needs, so everybody pays. It makes Senator Kyle … uncomfortable.
"Everyone needs food to exist and the government should not be making a profit on that."
The Kyle plan would not affect the sales tax money for cities and towns. A C Wharton is awfully happy about that, since his budget is so bad you can see the red ink seeping through the granite columns at city hall.
Even if this plan did hit his budget however, he'd still be in favor of dumping the food sales tax.
"I would support that, even though it's generally a matter left to the local governments. I would support that," Wharton said.
The chances of this being approved by the Democrats looks great, and Senator Kyle is hoping to see a little brotherly love between Democrats and Republicans on the sales tax plan. Although, the only families these guys have resembled over the years have been the Hatfields and McCoys.