Pushing for the income tax?
When Julie Abel goes grocery shopping each week, she drives more than 25 miles to Georgia to avoid paying the nation’s highest average tax on food: 8.4 percent in Tennessee.
“If you can save $5 it is worth driving down the road,” Abel said after traveling from her rural home in Hamilton County, which collects 2.22 percent sales tax on food on top of the 6 percent for the state. Georgia does not tax food sales.
Abel is not alone in her frustration. Rep. Michael Kernell, D-Memphis, said he regularly hears complaints about the state’s almost 60-year-old food tax and he predicted it would change.
I don’t know that the numbers are accurate as our sales tax is 9.5% but 8.5% on some food and not others but the breakdown is arbitrary and the new sales tax laws have not been in effect for 60 years. Still, driving across a state line to buy food isn’t a bad idea. More:
An “average family of four could eat for free from Thanksgiving to Christmas on the tax they pay on food in a year,” Daly said.
A recent report from Daly’s group shows Tennessee leads the nation with the highest average sales tax on food, 8.4 percent, and a 9.4 percent sales tax.
Tennessee is among nine states that either have no state income tax, or collect it on dividend and interest income. Some say a state income tax could help ease the burden of the tax on food.
And there’s the pitch. Bredesen says he won’t support it and that’s why I voted for him.